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Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock spring to life once again in Catherine Coulter’s latest FBI thriller.

DEADLOCK begins with the thoughts and ramblings of a woman locked in a correctional facility, wanting revenge on Savich, who has caused her incarceration. Marsia would exact her death wish against her chief accuser, Veronica, and depart from this hellhole to sculpt once more.

Enter Zoltan the Medium, who has summoned Rebekah, the wife of prominent politician Rich Manvers, to her home because of warnings she received from Rebekah’s dead grandfather, a former congressman. Rebekah has misgivings about calling up conversations with the dead but goes to Zoltan out of curiosity. The medium states that her grandfather has come to her with a message: “Rebekah, I want Rebekah, I want my Pumpkin. I must tell her—” He died from a stroke, but lingered on for many months until his final breath. His granddaughter visited almost daily, never taking his eventual demise as inevitable. Now, unbelievably, she will talk to him in his afterlife state.

"DEADLOCK is difficult to put down. You may need numerous late-night readings, complete with a flashlight or nightlight, to finish this satisfying thriller."

With the underpinnings of a mystical séance --- draperies fluttering, the lamp bursting into brightness, black smoke erupting from the fireplace embers --- the man enters the orbit through the voice of Zoltan. Remembered nicknames, hospital visits, her own vocational history as an art critic and historian: all are addressed in their conversation. The most important point he makes is about an adventure story he told her as a child --- a treasure that he and his friend, Nate Elderby, had taken from an evil sheikh’s caravan, which he called “The Big Take.” How would Zoltan be privy to this story if he had divulged this secret to his granddaughter and no one else?

Leaving Zoltan’s house, Rebekah is confused and skeptical. Unanswered questions loom in her mind. Away from the eerie sensations, fatigue sets in as she walks to her car, and she decides to avoid future meetings with the medium. She tells her comforting husband all about this unsettling experience and proceeds to dismiss it, focusing instead on a luncheon that will take place at her daughter-in-law’s house the next day, a fundraiser for Rich’s re-election.

However, before the festivities can begin, a large black-hooded man grabs Rebekah. He raises a syringe above her head and is soon joined by a second individual. But then someone interrupts the attack, jerking away her first assailant and striking his neck with a fist. When her attacker tries to subdue the would-be hero, the driver hits him on the head with a bottle of gin, helps his buddy up and into their SUV. Meanwhile, her rescuer pulls his gun, and, while on the ground, fires off six quick shots, exploding the car’s tire as it speeds off. Rebekah’s savior is Dillon Savich.

Barely 35 pages into the book, the major issues have been carefully crafted. A mysterious séance, a political situation, a possible crime having taken place many years before that involves a man drowning, a present-day attempted kidnapping, and a revenge crime against a federal officer, with murder committed at a prison. Coulter’s novel features all of the above, along with diligent character development.

During the investigation into Rebekah’s near-kidnapping, a box is delivered by mail to Savich at the Hoover Building. Inside the container, labeled PERSONAL, is one-third of a puzzle. When assembled, the picture shows an ancient pier and a sidewalk littered with human remains. The location, a scene from St. Loomis, Maryland, is identified by FBI agent Pippa Cinelli as her hometown. Savich sends her there to dig deeper but calls in local police chief Matthew Wilde when Cinelli is attacked and left bound in an abandoned building. Lacey Sherlock becomes embroiled in the case when her family’s very lives are put at risk. Far-reaching tentacles envelop all the players here.

DEADLOCK is difficult to put down. You may need numerous late-night readings, complete with a flashlight or nightlight, to finish this satisfying thriller.

Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on September 11, 2020

by Catherine Coulter

  • Publication Date: July 28, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • ISBN-10: 1501193694
  • ISBN-13: 9781501193699