Clean Hands

Atlantic Monthly. Jun. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9780802129536. $26. THRILLER
Chris Crowley, a junior attorney in Elizabeth Carlyle’s prestigious corporate law firm, has his phone stolen by a pickpocket in Grand Central Station. It contains sensitive documents relating to an important ongoing lawsuit being handled by the firm; the information is so sensitive that the phone has to be retrieved at almost any cost. Elizabeth calls in Valencia Walker, a former FBI and CIA agent, who uses whatever means necessary to get her jobs done. Valencia and her team track down the phone but not before it switches hands several times and not before the confidential information is held for ransom under threat of public disclosure. Underlying both Chris’s and Valencia’s actions are secrets. The action revolves around Valencia’s travels through the underworld in her attempt to locate and retrieve the phone, identify the blackmailers, and exact revenge.
VERDICT High-tech surveillance and cloak-and-dagger activity do not offset the anticlimactic ending or the mundane plot of the Brooklyn-based private investigator and author’s third outing (after Every Man a Menace). [See Prepub Alert, 11/25.19.]

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