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The Third Rail    by Michael Harvey order for
Third Rail
by Michael Harvey
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Third Rail - which follows The Chicago Way and The Fifth Floor in Michael Harvey's fast-paced, award-winning series starring cynical cop turned private investigator Michael Kelly - is another winner.

It begins as a psycho shoots a woman waiting at an L station and then takes his time fleeing the scene, setting a trap for ... guess who? Though the killer taunts Kelly with 'Ready to die, hero?', the PI awakens with nothing worse than a blinding headache. As more L killings follow and city panic rises, the mayor asks Kelly to investigate 'under the radar'. He does so, working with Detective Vince Rodriguez and 'twenty-something cyberhacker' Hubert Russell, despite the objections of his lover, judge Rachel Swenson.

Kelly quickly concludes that there are two perps. Their motives remain obscure until late in the story, although one of the bad guys quotes Homer and speaks of a 'matter of honor'. Kelly wonders about a connection to a horrific L train crash when he was a child. The FBI get involved, giving our hero 'a new appreciation for why people consider a life of crime to be such a lucrative career choice.' However, agent Katherine Lawson seems somewhat more competent than her peers.

As the death count continues to rise, Kelly's not left long in ignorance of the grudge the instigator holds against him. He and Rodriguez end up in a race against time to save the lives of people they care about, and possibly to prevent a doomsday attack against Chicago itself. As always, Harvey delives a gripping, convoluted thriller that takes all a reader's attention - don't miss The Third Rail.

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