Patrick Sawyer, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, came to Houston to raise funds for his presidential run, not to be killed. But someone wants him dead, and that someone arranges for Sawyer to be attacked by a rabid cat.
The attack scene is written with vivid detail and such force that the reader is instantly engaged:
“The shadow moved again, sprang close to his face and sunk burning spikes into his neck and shoulder. The thing was wet with the smell of death. … He could hear the low-pitched keening in his ear. A song, a curse, a sick pulsing moan of savage fury and desperation.”
Houston City veterinarian Dr. Duncan MacDonell is challenged to unravel the mystery of how the Governor contracted rabies when the head of the cat that attacked him tests negative for the disease. Then another strange rabies death occurs, and he suspects there is more than a simple lab error going on. What ultimately unfolds is a multi-layered plot to manipulate politics and gain power with fingers that stretch throughout the state.
While working on this case, MacDonell is also embroiled in city politics - or more precisely his reluctance to play city politics - and he has to tread carefully. What gets him through the sticky times is the continued support of his wife, Jeannie. She also manages to show up with one of her guns at an opportune time when he’s up against the bad guys unarmed.
Index of Suspicion is even better than Canis, Armstrong’s debut novel, and he is working on another story featuring Houston City veterinarian Dr. Duncan MacDonell and his delightful wife, Jeannie. If his track record holds, the next book should be even better. Armstrong is an author who definitely improves with experience.