The twentieth novel in the Brady Coyne series falls somewhere in the middle of the pack, quality wise--better than some, but not as good as others in the series. The story begins when Brady gets a call from one of his clients, Walt Duffy. Duffy is an internationally-renowned birder and has traveled the world photographing birds of every description. But then he had an accident which left him unable to walk, and for the last two years he's been confined to his home in Boston and to the bird sanctuary that he created in his backyard.
Duffy also collects rare books and manuscripts relating to birds, and one afternoon he asks Brady to stop by. Duffy has some letters purported to have been written by Meriwether Lewis to a famed ornithologist of his day, describing the birds that Lewis saw while exploring the Far West for President Thomas Jefferson. If the letters are authentic, they would be worth a fortune. Duffy wants Brady to take the letters to a colleague who will appraise them. Brady agrees, but shortly thereafter, Walt Duffy is murdered and his son, Ethan, who lived with him, disappears. Brady discovers the body and so naturally finds himself in the middle of the investigation and the search for Ethan.
So far, so good, and we have the setup for what could be a pretty intriguing novel. But the book then takes a turn in a direction that was, at least for me, much less interesting and exciting than the early pages of the book would have suggested. Bad things continue to happen; Brady Coyne increasingly gets sucked deeper into the vortex and pretty soon, his life may be on the line. Along the way, his relationship with his new girlfriend, Evie Banyon continues to develop and it gives nothing away to reveal that there's a pretty interesting sex scene that take place in the middle of a thunderstorm. Oh, the symbolism!
This is certainly not a bad book, and I enjoyed reading it. But after the opening pages I had high hopes for it that were not entirely born out. A solid three stars for me, but no more than that.