Ellie Foreman is a video producer in Chicago. She’s good at her job. No one was more shocked than she when her client Charlotte Hollander, Delcroft VP, said her newest promotional video for Delcroft was amateurish and undignified. Charlotte fired her on the spot. Ellie had made notes of what was on the video when Charlotte seemed to become uncomfortable with it. When she later played the video back for herself, she realized those shots included Gregory Parks who’d introduced himself to Ellie as a Consultant for Delcroft. On a hunch, Ellie contacted Gregory to set up a meeting. He never made it to their meeting. He either jumped … or was pushed … into the path of a subway train. She finds a pack of cigarettes lying near where he was killed. Instead of cigarettes, the pack held a flash drive. After finding out the drive was encrypted, she seeks a hacker to decode the contents. But, unfortunate things begin to happen to people she’s close to. She determines someone has placed her under surveillance.
The Ellie Foreman series had gone dormant since 2005 (A Shot to Die For) and now realistically, the years have passed for our protagonist as well. Pieces of this story don’t fall into place naturally, like managing to find the cigarette pack at the scene of the crime without calling attention to herself or being stopped from taking them. It’s highly coincidental that the pack actually belonged to Parks. The pace and the mystery are nicely complicated with espionage, murder, and tumult. Ellie is an amateur sleuth but this not a cozy. She makes mistakes that many of us would make if we were afraid, and there was plenty to be afraid of. Rating: 3.5 out of 5.