After a wedding day fiasco, Seattle FBI agent Andie Henning is ready for an assignment any assignment. The one she's given is a doozy, and could prove to be a real career-maker or career-killer.

A possible serial murderer appears to have claimed three lives. The first two are males so similar as to be twins. The third is a woman, strangled and displayed with the same MO. Andie is not an experienced profiler, but she'll be working with one, the nearly burned-out Victoria Santos. The agents notice the killer seems to target victims in pairs. The next victim may well be a woman, which leads the investigators to power attorney Gus Wheatley.

Gus's wife is missing. After years of a loveless marriage, the distracted head of a huge and powerful law firm is shocked to learn that his wife did not pick up their young daughter from tumbling class. In fact, Beth Wheatley has disappeared, and it doesn't take long for everyone involved to realize the third victim fits Beth's description but it isn't her, only a lookalike. Is Beth Wheatley to be the next victim? A phone call, which could only have come from Beth, forces Gus to admit the possibility that she may not be an innocent captive. Victim or accomplice? This becomes the central question of James Grippando's new novel. The author also explores the definition of spouse abuse, for although there are suspicions of physical abuse, it turns out that Gus has only ignored his wife. Suddenly thrust into the uncomfortable role of both father and mother, Gus's life and routine are altered forever. The emotions swirling around him are as realistically heart-wrenching as those of his grieving daughter.

After solid reviews for his previous thrillers, The Abduction and Found Money, ex-trial lawyer Grippando enters John Sandford territory with this tale in which an FBI agent faces her first undercover mission, a father faces his first true experience with fatherhood, and Seattle faces yet another serial killer. Under Cover of Darkness packs a punch as it examines themes recognizable from the evening news, especially with its references to Waco and similar situations. It's a gripping tale that crests with a surprise twist and a satisfying climax.

Bill Gagliani is the author of Shadowplays, an e-book collection of dark fiction from Ebooksonthe.net.

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