by Thomas Lakeman
Review by Ernest Lilley
St. Martin's Minotaur Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312380229
Date: 17 March 2009 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
FBI Agent Mike Weaver has had a rough couple of novels, and author Thomas Lakeman isn't about to let up on him yet. Sent down to New Orleans to be a wiseguy with the crime family he brought down twenty years before, this trip to post Katrina New Orleans is going to be anything but easy.
Mike Yeager is an FBI agent with baggage left over from his Lancaster, PA childhood with an abusive, if bible thumping father and a mother who committed suicide. He's got deep seated guilt over not having been able to save his mother, and it comes out in every case he takes on. Saving someone is more than a job, it's what he's driven to. Unfortunately, it messes up his judgment time after time, and his career is only just starting to mend from episodes of too much zeal, and not enough rule following.
Now the bureau wants him to go back to the scene of his first big case, New Orleans, to bring down the crime family that he'd broken once before, back when he was young and the world looked simpler. He'd tell them it wasn't his idea of a good move except for a shadowy figure in the surveillance photo that shows a woman who should be dead, at least as far as anyone knows, the woman he put on a bus out of the Big Easy before turning her father, the Padrone, over to the feds.
I don't much like organized crime stories, but I like Mike Yeager pretty well, and I like New Orleans too, so I was willing to take a walk on the wild side with Lakeman's guilt ridden FBI agent to see where it would take me.
The time is a year after Katrina, and big money is on the table. Billions of dollars of reconstruction money are being voted on and the only hitch is that New Orleans is having a hard time selling itself as worth saving. The city is filling back up with life, but it's lowlife, and congress is queasy about throwing good money down the drain. For New Orleans, getting a handle on its crime problem is imperative, but the police department is outmatched and burned out.
So the City brought in the Kadmos corporation, a heavy duty security firm in the Blackwater tradition, to do what our mercenary contractors have done overseas for us. They've got the best weapons, intel, armor, and gadgets...and they're here to make New Orleans cleaner than it's ever been.
The collision between the old crime family and the security corporation is as bloody as you could hope, with Yeager playing the wise guy, deep undercover, trying to salvage something out of a no-win scenario. He spends a lot of energy trying to save the girl, but really it's Yeager who needs saving.
In the end he manages to get some resolution, if not salvation, but like most things of value, the price is dear indeed. I'm looking forward to see what direction Mike Yeager strikes out in next, and if his demons will stay dead long enough for him to catch a break.