Bartender Harper Flynn’s boyfriend has just returned her back door access card when the gunfire starts in Meg Gardiner’s “Phantom Instinct.” He is killed in the crossfire, a firebomb is tossed against the wall of liquor behind the bar, and the explosion and spreading flames cause a wall to collapse through the floor, taking a cop with it. And that’s all in the first eleven pages.
Harper’s job disappears with the bar and the injured Aiden Garrison, the deputy Sheriff on a case at the time of the fire, has been placed on medical leave from his. Each of them remembers three shooters that night and a year later, Harper thinks one of them is after her. Two of the shooters are dead, and nobody believes Harper and Aiden that the third ever existed. The case is closed. Or is it?
Aiden suffered a traumatic brain injury in the fall – serious enough to cause faulty facial recognition (Fregoli Syndrome). His people identification skills sometimes short-circuit so that he sees vicious criminals instead of the friends really standing there. That fact makes him dangerous and completely unreliable as a partner. And he is Harper’s only ally. They must work together to solve the puzzle of what really happened the night of the fire, in order to save their own lives.
The “Phantom Instinct” plot is edgy and complex, the players ruthless and fully developed, and it’s hard not to cringe when old ‘buddies’ reappear and work their special brand of evil. The connections to both Aiden’s and Harper’s pasts will make you wish you could read faster.
If you’re looking for a sweet, cuddly book…this is most assuredly not it.
“When it started, Harper Flynn had a fifth of vodka in her hand, six shot glasses lined up on the bar in front of her, and a stinging cut on her arm from a broken beer bottle.”
With that opening line, Meg Gardiner’s “Phantom Instinct” begins a pulse-pounding, page-turning thriller that will keep you riveted until you finish that last, gut-wrenching scene. And then you’ll yearn for more.
Meg Gardiner, an Edgar Award winning, bestselling novelist, writes books with strong, smart women in the lead. The plots are mind-bending, the action non-stop, and I can’t wait to get the next book. 🙂
Read the review of “The Memory Collector” here.
Read the review of “Ransom River” here.
Please visit www.meggardiner.com for information about all of Ms. Gardiner’s books. You'll be glad you did.