Rosenfelt’s premise is so blatantly illogical that his thriller reads like a superhero comic book where everything is simplified for effect—but he writes with such a quirky sense of style that suspending belief for the duration is not a problem. There is the requisite damsel in distress, an evil villain, and the knight on a white horse. While this Rapunzel locked in a tower, confessed husband-slayer Sheryl Harrison, peers helplessly from behind locked bars, the mad genius is plotting a terrible fate for the country, manipulating law enforcement agencies with such extreme examples of his power that they are cowed into submission. Thoroughly confused? You should be.
The clock is ticking. The damsel’s daughter is dying of heart disease: only a transplant will save her, a blood match. But the state of New Jersey does not support the death penalty—or suicide—so the only way the inexperienced pro bono attorney assigned to the case of by prestigious legal firm can help his new client is by proving her innocence. Once released, she can offer her heart to her daughter. This is a daunting task for inexperienced Jamie Wagner, since Sheryl confessed to police at the scene of the crime, her husband’s blood pooling around his body. A messy business, but merely inconvenient to the madman behind the scenes plotting a spectacular terrorist attack until Jamie’s activities on behalf of his client interfere with his carefully laid plans.
The self-deprecating hero does much to make an extremely far-fetched plot palatable. Smitten by the quiet, determined woman who would sacrifice her heart that her daughter may live, Wagner is clearly on the side of the angels. And the villain is so demented, his intentions so heinous, that even his brilliance cannot possibly prevail in this doomsday scenario. It isn’t great writing or a great story, but Rosenfelt’s Wagner is so charming and well-intentioned that there is only one way for this fairy tale to end. That’s the thing: Rosenfelt never has any pretensions about his unlikely hero tilting at windmills with the best of intentions. Under a barrage of media questions, cameras flashing, the shy attorney can’t quite believe the turn his life has taken, “Who, me?” But is there a way to save the damsel and the world?