The Second Target, by Howard P. Giordano. BluewaterPress LLC. 252 pages. Trade paperback $22.95. Kindle e-book $4.99.
Set in 2000, Mr. Giordano’s new mystery thriller features Luke Rizzo, a New York Police Department retiree now working as a private investigator. He is hired to find a crazed serial killer, Werner Schmitt, who is out for twisted revenge. The woman who hires Rizzo, the beautiful Amy Chatsworth, is married to a British House of Lords member. She is also the daughter of a man Schmitt feels compelled to assassinate. Amy has been trying to find her long lost father, and the connection makes her an additional target for Schmitt. But when Schmitt has his chance, his pistol shot misses its mark.
What’s Werner Schmitt’s problem? Well, it goes back a generation. His father Walter was one of eight Germans who made up a band of saboteurs working against the United States. When the group was captured by the FBI in 1942, two of the eight cooperated and brought evidence against the other six. The two “turncoats” were put in witness protection. The other six, including Walter Schmitt, were executed. One of the two betrayers was Amy’s grandfather.
Werner, a former East Germany Stasi agent, also knows that the sabotage project involved a huge cash backing, some 2.5 million dollars that the Nazi’s committed to it. It’s been missing all these decades, and he’d like to get his hands on it.
The action begins in London and take us to parts of Pennsylvania and New York. Rizzo’s job is to help find Amy’s grandfather and the other man who had been placed in witness protection. Soon enough, it is clear that while her grandfather is no longer alive, her father is – or might be. This part of the narrative is a bit obscure, but in any case Rizzo needs to protect her and thwart Werner’s plans. Unfortunately, anyone getting in Werner’s way will also become a target.
Pursuing an investigation with Amy leads Rizzo to a hot romance (with her) and to confrontations with FBI agents and local police in the various places to which Rizzo’s investigation leads him. Amy is an able partner in more than one way.
Werner Schmitt is a shrewd adversary. Knowing that Rizzo and Amy are likely doing his work for him, finding the individuals he wishes to assassinate in order to protect them, he simply tracks the sleuthing lovers. He’s good at it. Will they catch on? . . .
To read the full review, as it appears in the June 15, 2016 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the June 16 Naples, Bonita Springs, and Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Second Target