Brad Meltzer follows up 2008’s The Escape Artist with another pairing of especially skilled mortician “Zig” Zigarowski and former Army artist Nola Brown – the “lightning rod” of the title – as they investigate the death of career Army officer Archie Mint, after Mint is killed in what is presumed to be a botched home invasion.
Zig is called out to do some reconstructive work on Mint’s face, as that is one of the places he was shot, so there can be an open casket at the funeral, which is being held in a gym. Zig spots Nola, and wonders why she is there, while she spots Zig and wonders the same thing.
While preparing Mint, Zig noticed a few odd things, and this is what propels the mystery/thriller aspect.Zig starts nosing around and it leads him back to Dover Air Force Base, where he previously worked, preparing dead military personnel for their final trip home. He’s also looking for Nola, to determine why she was at Mint’s funeral.
We do get further character development of Nola, learning more about her, even as we’re told she’s been living off the grid for the past two years -after she and Sig investigated the events in The Escape Artist.
Nola’s twin brother, now a police officer, also wants to find Nola. Actually, it seems everyone wants to get their hands on her, for good reasons and quite a number of not so good reasons. Ditto for Zig.
As they work their way into what is going on, the stakes get higher and higher until the revelations of the connections between all of the characters.
While the main body of the book is good, and captivating, if you’re in a mind to ignore a few things and in the mood for a decent thriller. The same could not be said, at least for me, about the ending. I don’t mind when series continue going – I am, as we all know, a huge fan of good series books – but this one just didn’t settle well for me. It does appear there will be a third book at some point, and that book may answer some questions about this book’s ending. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take four years to arrive.
Three and a half stars rounded up to four out of five stars.
Thanks to William Morrow and Custom House, and NetGalley for the reading copy.