cover image Invisible Streets

Invisible Streets

Toby Ball. Overlook, $26.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4683-0902-7

Ball's third thriller set in an unnamed American city (after 2011's Scorch City) is his best yet. It's 1963, and the power structure is moving ahead with a radical plan to alter the city's geography using tax incentives to transform its center into "a single, powerful, enormous business district." Highways will link the center with new affluent suburbs while bypassing poorer neighborhoods. With the support of businessmen and corrupt politicians, the New City Project seems unstoppable. The theft of a full trailer of explosives interjects an element of uncertainty. Against this backdrop, Panos Demitropoulis asks reporter Frank Frings, who has been waging a quixotic fight on behalf of the have-nots, to trace his missing grandson, Sol Elia, whom he hasn't seen in two years but now has reason to hope is alive. Frings's search for Sol intersects with a wide array of plot lines, which build to a stunning conclusion. Ball portrays the realities of graft and moral compromise in government perfectly, and slides in some insights into urban planning as well. Agent: Rob McQuilkin, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (July)