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The 3rd Woman    by Jonathan Freedland order for
3rd Woman
by Jonathan Freedland
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Jonathan Freedland makes an intriguing (but rather worrisome) premise the basis of his near future thriller, The 3rd Woman. In debt to China to the tune of trillions, the United States has bowed to that country's pressure to allow them to maintain a military presence on the US mainland, where their cultural influences is already strongly felt.

That's the story's context. Its heroine, Madison Webb, is a talented and obsessively determined investigative reporter, just finishing a story that required her to pose as an LA sweatshop worker. But she doesn't get time to rest on her laurels as she's soon devastated by the news of her younger sister's death, which the authorities seem determined to portray as an accidental drug overdose.

But Abigail, a schoolteacher, didn't do drugs. And Maddy soon digs up other recent deaths of young women, all highly unlikely to have overdosed on heroin. Her ex, Leo who works for LA Mayor Richard Berger, feeds her with shocking information as does her wannabe boyfriend, Detective Jeff Howe. She discovers that the dead women were all blond with connections to the LA Garrison of the People's Liberation Army.

Maddie concludes that they were all victims 'of a brutal serial killer', but the police will not listen to her. After Maddie posts what she has found online (without her paper's permission) and the story goes viral, another victim's brother, Mario Padilla, organizes huge protests and demonstrations, demanding justice and that the garrison be subject to American law.

Of course, Maddie's investigation gets her in trouble, and not only with her bosses. She's beaten, interrogated and tortured, but she's relentless in her search for the truth about her sister's death. 'Cui bono?' She learns that nothing in the big picture is as it seems in smaller ones. If you enjoy a complex, well developed near future thriller, then rush to read The 3rd Woman!

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