When the first of a shocking series of murders related to the Chicago L takes place before our hero’s eyes, he quickly sets out to chase down the attacker. He soon finds his own life in grave danger. Come to find out, Chicago private detective Michael Kelly is closer to the case than he first believed. He was involved in a wreck on the L when he was a child, and current events bring back harsh memories of that time. Michael soon wonders if the recent murders and that long ago tragedy are somehow be connected.
As Michael begins to hunt for the killer or killers in search of the truth behind the growing number of slayings, the Chicago mayor and the FBI also draw him further into their own investigation. When his girlfriend, Judge Rachel Swenson, becomes one of the victims in a strange twist, a harsh reality begins to set in for Michael that the killer might be sending him a message. Will he find Rachel in time, or will the killer win the sick game where the rules seem to change on a whim?
Michael Harvey has crafted another intriguing story in the third novel of this series. One of the most interesting aspects of The Third Rail is the amount of time the reader spends with the murderer given insider information into his or her motivation, knowing what is coming up next as the FBI and Michael struggle to find the reason behind the carnage. The reader is privy to much of what is going on behind the scenes without knowing when and how, if at all, the killer will be stopped.
Writing the storyline in this matter provides plenty of thrills. That Michael Harvey utilizes a noir-type writing style adds to the grittiness of the novel. With Chicago as a backdrop, he draws the reader into a non-stop pace that makes it difficult for the reader to set the book down for even a moment.
This was one of the most exciting, fast-paced novels I have read all year. It was also my first Michael Harvey novel and I plan to go back to his first two - The Chicago Way and The Fifth Floor, to catch up on the series.
From the first page to the last, the action never slows. In fact, the epilogue sets up a chilling scenario that could leave the reader wondering how real is the possibility of further chaos - possibly in a fourth novel?
A special thank you goes to FSB Associates for providing a complimentary copy of The Third Rail. If you are interested in purchasing any of Michael Harvey’s novels, they are available at Amazon.com.