|Homeland Security formed Sextant, a special ops team headed by Jack
Mercier. This group formed an adjunct team known as COMPASS, also directed by Mercier. The skill sets in this group included all the super cops’ skills but also required ESP or special premonitions to join. Clay Senate, a member of that prestigious group, is selected to interview the newest candidate FBI agent Vanessa Walker. These members are recruited, as there is no application process.
A casino has been bombed on a Cherokee reservation in North Carolina and Vanessa is the FBI agent in charge. A tip had alerted them to the identity of the bomber, but Vanessa knew him anyway. Hightower had been convicted of manslaughter, served his time and is back. She has a special reason to know him as he had killed her cousin.
Vanessa believes that Hightower will strike again and she believes the time will be at the coming festival when the largest number of people will be congregated. So Vanessa is in a race against time when Clay Senate shows up to help her. The FBI had no particular reason to question the offer of help coming from Homeland Security.
Vanessa realizes that Clay is part Indian, hitting immediately one of
Clay’s sore points. His emotional baggage is his identity problem, stemming from the loss of his Indian culture. Vanessa is particularly well adjusted and not looking for a male to interrupt her overachieving drive to the top.
The plot is thin, the wrongdoer is known from the beginning and the story is spent chasing him. The first time he is caught, he is released for lack of probable cause. He disappears and Clay resorts to embracing an Indian tradition for guidance as to where Hightower might be.
Character development is focused upon the weaknesses of the individuals
rather than playing to the strengths. The perceived weakness of Vanessa is that she is too focused on Hightower as the culprit, but the book is structured to permit no deviation from this line of pursuit. Thus there is a notable lack of tension on the suspense side of the story.
The chase is on, as well as the relationship between Clay and Vanessa
and there is a surprising lack of sexual tension. The plot is predictable, the dialog conventional and the ending unsurprising.