When she joined St. Kilda's, the elite security consulting firm, Emma Cross thought she'd left behind the blood, the guilt, and the Tribal Wars that defined her life at the CIA. Yet trading spying for investigating yacht thefts didn't alleviate the danger. Now, the same good instincts that got her into trouble at the agency might be the one thing that will help her survive her latest case.
St. Kilda and Emma are tracking a yacht named Blackbird. Emma knows the boat's intended cargo is lethal. What she needs to find out is whether it's biological, chemical, or fissionable. And she's only got seven days to uncover the truth . . . or a major American city will be lost. Fortunately, she's working with a new partner as menacing and distrustful as the worst enemy she's ever faced—Mackenzie Durand.
But Emma and Mac aren't the only eyes watching Blackbird. Taras Demidov, an expert in extortion and execution in the pay of oligarchs running the Former Soviet Union, is also waiting in the shadows, determined to intercept a fearsomely powerful arms dealer with the money, weaponry, and connections to alter the geopolitical balance.
In Lowell’s well-crafted fifth St. Kilda Consulting thriller (after Blue Smoke and Murder), Manhattan operative Emma Cross travels to Seattle, Wash., where Blackbird, a yacht purported to contain enough explosives to destroy a major U.S. city, is being offloaded from a container ship. Posing as the representative of a buyer interested in the yacht, Emma connects with MacKenzie “Mac” Durand, Blackbird’s transit captain, who’s supposed to deliver the boat to a commissioning yard in the San Juan Islands. Emma and Mac, who has a background in special ops, wind up becoming unlikely allies on a dangerous sea journey in which they find themselves succumbing to their mutual attraction. Forced into a high stakes encounter with a pair of Russian spies, they come to realize that the scope of their mission is much greater than they at first assumed. Lowell’s primary focus on espionage rather than on romance is a major change from earlier novels, albeit a pleasing one. (June)