Fifth of the Sydney Fitzpatrick novels is an uneven read as FBI forensic specialist Sydney Fitzpatrick begins digging into the circumstances surrounding her father’s murder twenty years ago. There was a mysterious code known as the Devils Key, supposedly capable of spying on the contents of any computer or phone that went missing about the same time Syd’s father died. The code was deemed so dangerous a presidential kill order was issued that sealed the fate of anyone who had seen it, that order puts Syd and Piper Lawrence, a young woman gifted with an eidetic memory in the crosshairs. Two deaths in the Bay Area quickly confirm someone else is hunting the Devils Key so Syd and several other agents must work to not only protect Piper but also discover who is behind the murders. What Syd discovers is so chilling and reaches so high into government, they are all at risk.
The storyline bounces so much between different FBI teams and assorted characters it becomes difficult to connect with the protagonists, that said, punker Piper is one of the most interesting personalities. The subplots eventually blend together to create a credible thriller/mystery though the general storyline has been done before and the largely fast pace does lag too much in places to be a smooth read. Burcell’s afterword is worth reading as she goes into some detail about the events and deaths that contributed to the plot. While not Burcell’s best work, this is a decent addition to a strong series.
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