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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
In a fascinating stand-alone novel that's a combination of police procedural and political thriller, Ian Rankin, author of the bestselling Inspector Rebus series, details the breakneck hunt for a terrifyingly inventive female assassin known only as Witch.
The British police investigate when a pleasure craft explodes, killing two men. The French police are working on a similar incident involving four fishermen. Then a bright young man in the Collator's Office, who spends his days feeding data into a computer that looks for patterns in seemingly unrelated crimes, notices unexpected similarities between the two cases. That's when they call in Dominic Elder, an old-timer from the Cold War era (when operatives relied on paper files and legwork rather than computers), who has been forced into retirement because of his outdated ideas. Now authorities wonder if a so-called "crackpot theory" -- the idea that many random terrorist attacks are the work of a single, brilliant woman agent -- may be right after all.
This time, the normally elusive Witch wants to be noticed, wants to direct attention to an obvious target: the upcoming summit in London, where seven heads of state will gather in a week's time. To the police and intelligence officers, this means the Witch is getting overconfident. But Elder suspects this ingenious killer is hiding her real agenda and decides to send an ambitious but untried agent into the field to "stir the pot" and flush out his prey. This classic gambit could mean the end of Elder's chances to find the Witch…or bring him face to face with a killer who made the chase personal years ago. Sue Stone