When the death of a family friend leads journalist Lukas Novak to investigate a cluster of strange deaths in a nursing home, he uncovers a diabolical scheme with roots deep in the past.
This is a prequel to MATCH GAMES, a full length Lukas Novak mystery. That book kept me on my toes from first page to last. THE LAST COVERT has the same complex characterization and an equally intricate plot. We get to meet Lukas in a dark hour. His marriage is over and his wife is bent on alienating him from his children and ruining him financially. Poor guy can’t take a breath without fear that something negative will be reported back to her attorney and used to bankrupt him. To be fair, Lukas has spent his whole marriage hiding the fortune he inherited from his famous brother, a rock star whose recordings still bring in a tidy sum long after his unhappy death.
The point here is that Lukas is in a fragile frame of mind as the book opens during the funeral of a close friend. This emotional vulnerability clouds his judgement as he investigates the events surrounding the man’s death and the surprising beneficiaries of his will. I don’t want to tell too much. I’ll just say Lukas isn’t prepared for the extent of the conspiracy he’s stumbled upon. Nor is he aware how deep in the past the seeds of the crime are buried. The villain behind it all isn’t just some murdering con man out to get his hands on the victims’ worldly goods. There’s a deep pathology involved. A terrible history that will repeat and repeat unless Lukas can put a stop to it. And it’s not clear that he’ll be able to do that.
It’s amazing to me how much character and suspense Schirmer packs into this relatively short work. Yet the pacing is right on. There’s no sense that she’s cramming in plot points or forcing the action.
THE LAST CONVERT is a gritty and action-packed thriller that will keep your heart pounding until the very end.