Ballantine, Sep 2001, 24.00, 452 pp.
It has been a decade since NYPD detective Conrad Voort and Meechum Keefe seen each other. The old childhood friends share drinks in the historic White Horse Tavern in the Village, but instead of a nostalgic camaraderie, Meechum acts apprehensive and on edge. The next day, Conrad learns that Meechum has vanished leaving behind a list of five names on a napkin he wrote on in the bar.
Conrad quickly realizes that the common thread of the list from Meechum Keefe is that each person has been involved directly or indirectly with violence. Several died allegedly from accidents, but Conrad wonders if murder occurred. As he makes further inquiries into the remaining survivors, Conrad finds himself attracted to one of them, Dr. Jill Towne currently treating a terrorist. He soon finds preliminary evidence that a top secret government agency hires killers to eliminate “threats” to security (that is to that agency) including nosy detectives getting to close to the truth.
With THE BROKEN HEARTS CLUB, IRRESISTIBLE, and now ALL THE DEAD WERE STRANGERS, Conrad Voort proves he is a great lead character in a continuing police procedural series. The current plot raises questions on terrorism and antiterrorism, but the clever Ethan Black never allows his political-social thesis interfere to even slightly slow down his thriller. By enhancing the plot with issues involving the means justifying the ends, Mr. Black will catapult readers into seeking the previous two Voort books and his other tales as the audience will conclude that ALL THE DEAD WERE STRANGERS is a great novel.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner