cover image Flash


Michael Cadnum, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-374-39911-5

Money is the main motivator in Cadnum's (Peril on the Sea) uneven crime drama. Siblings Bruce and Milton Borchard are looking to better their fortunes through bank robbery, while neighbor Nina Atwood's college plans are in jeopardy due to her father's financial difficulties. Her brother, Carraway, recovering from grievous wounds suffered while serving in Iraq, needs a lawyer to fast-track a medical discharge, and her nearly blind boyfriend, Terrence, may have a chance at improving his eyesight through expensive operations. After the Borchards pull off a bumbling robbery, they encounter Terrence, the only witness to their crimes, who tells the Atwoods what he knows. As Bruce and Milton plan to eliminate this loose end, Carraway plots ways to get his hands on the reward money, setting the stage for a violent confrontation. Though Cadnum works in some powerful, resonant lines, the narrative's innate tension is lessened by a heavy reliance on authorial omniscience, an excess of unfulfilled plot lines, and an ending that slams to a halt. Readers investing in these characters may be disappointed by the lack of resolution. Ages 12–up. (July)