Skip to main content

The Lost Key: A Brit in the FBI Novel


The Lost Key: A Brit in the FBI Novel

Events dating back to the tail end of World War I affect the mystery surrounding a murder in today’s time in New York City. Nicholas Drummond, a former New Scotland Yard special agent, begins his first day on the job as a freshly minted FBI agent. He joins the New York Field Office under Supervisor Milo Zachary and is partnered with Michaela (“Mike”) Caine. The two had worked together on a prior case, a diamond theft involving Scotland Yard. Checking in with Zachary, the two draw their first assignment on day one for Nicholas, a Wall Street stabbing in federal territory.

The victim is middle-aged businessman John Pearce. Witnesses who were questioned speak of two men arguing before John was stabbed and the culprit ran away. It isn’t long, though, before they find the killer and subdue him. Handcuffed, he leers at them, refuses to talk, gags, spews foam from his mouth, slumps over and dies within a minute. Officers take from him two long stilettos (one of them bloody), a pistol and a cell phone.

"Coulter has found the perfect match with Ellison in creating THE LOST KEY. If they write with expediency, hopefully we shall see a third book in the series sooner rather than later."

As a result of this death, Nicholas is placed on desk beat until an investigation is launched. Mike retains her gun but is off the case as well. A video feed has been recovered from near the death scene that shows a dying Pearce utter his final words: “The key --- The key is ----in the lock.” An international, action-packed adventure now begins, with Nicholas and Mike acting like bloodhounds on the trail of the murderer’s motive --- and the mystery of Pearce’s dying words.

Investigating Pearce’s elegant apartment, the agents discover an SD thumb drive tucked behind shelved rare books in his library. Nicholas opens it to reveal extensive images and files. Further digging leads to Pearce’s business, Aniston’s Antiquities and Rare Books, a few blocks away. Meanwhile, Sophie and Adam Pearce, the dead man’s children, possess answers to the puzzle. Sophie is either lying or is unaware of her father’s secrets, while Adam is nowhere to be found.

In this follow-up to THE FINAL CUT, J.T. Ellison collaborates with Catherine Coulter to paint highly believable characters on both sides of the Atlantic. The tag associated with an upper crust British hierarchy flows smoothly when a secret society is directly involved in the American case. Three members of Britain’s government have been murdered recently, and one of them contacted Pearce the day before he died. The questions come tumbling down for Nicholas and Mike, far outweighing the answers. Finally, Nicholas’s father tells them about the secret order and Pearce’s part in it. Adam remains missing, and clues lead to a German scientist and businessman, Dr. Manfred Havelock, as the chief perpetrator. His murderer/operative’s autopsy yields proof of a diabolical game.

THE LOST KEY’s landscape covers a wide range, including New York City, London, Germany, the sewers of Paris and the coast of rural Scotland. At times the story jumps quickly from one spot to another. The authors caption each chapter with either time and location or identities of the main players in that section. Halfway through the book, one realizes that 228 pages tell Day One’s story. Day Two covers the remaining 209.

Quotations attributed to renowned historical figures placed throughout the novel give credibility to the research behind the story. Links to a sunken German U-boat from WWI, Kaiser Wilhelm’s gold and scientific papers attributed to Marie Curie become the focus in a thrilling race to prevent Havelock from enacting a world-changing event. Mike and Nicholas, with help from Sophie and her brilliant hacker-brother, solve murders, protect the integrity of The Order and keep the action non-stop. 

Coulter has found the perfect match with Ellison in creating THE LOST KEY. If they write with expediency, hopefully we shall see a third book in the series sooner rather than later.

Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on October 24, 2014

The Lost Key: A Brit in the FBI Novel
by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison

  • Publication Date: August 25, 2015
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Jove
  • ISBN-10: 0515155802
  • ISBN-13: 9780515155808