Jake Carlson, reporter for the popular television tabloid American Outrage feels himself slipping from the limelight. When he looks in the mirror, it is clear that time is taking a toll on his signature good looks, upstart correspondents are getting the big scoops and the recent death of his wife is not seen as an excuse for his excessive drinking and missed interviews. Compounding things further, thirteen-year-old adopted son, Sam is getting into trouble at school and has asked Jake to track down his birth mother. Neither of them could possibly imagine the trouble such an innocent request would stir up. Jake’s attempts to track down the Albanian adoption agency turn up little beyond a travel agency that unaccountably vanished when he returned the next day. Threatening phone calls, drugged unconscious, gunmen breaking into his hotel room, leads turning up dead, it’s enough to make Jake think someone is serious about keeping Sam’s heritage secret. When Sam disappears, Jake realizes a lot of people are playing for keeps and unless he can be as ruthless as they are, he may lose everything. It doesn’t help that Jake’s coworkers smell blood and seek to place him on the other side of the microphone in a bid for higher ratings.
Green’s twelfth book has it all; rapid fire action suspense, strong characters, personality conflicts and interoffice rivalries, drugs, the Mafia, clandestine baby rings and old money all wrapped up in a nicely developed plot. The no holds barred, cutthroat media feeding frenzy makes a strong subplot while pointing out some of the problems with “reality” news shows where anything, including a boy’s life may be sacrificed on the ratings alter. Jake’s transformation and redemption are handled with a deft touch that adds a nice depth to the exciting conclusion.