Lightning Rod
by Meltzer, Brad

Mortician "Zig" Zigarowski, while working on the body of a successful military man, discovers something he was never meant to see, and, to get the answers he needs, sets out to find military artist Nola Brown-a search that reveals one of the U.S. government's most intensely guarded secrets. 250,000 first printing.

In this exciting followup to 2018's The Escape Artist, former military mortician Jim "Zig" Zigarowski does a favor for a friend and agrees to work on the body of a recently deceased lieutenant colonel. The man died a hero, defending his family from a home invasion, but, after Zig stumbles onto something no one was supposed to see, he unearths the dark, hidden side of the dead man's life. Stranger still, it seems the dead man had a connection to Nola Brown, the enigmatic artist whose near death was the launching point for The Escape Artist. Zig needs to talk to Nola if he's going to get to the bottom of the mysteries surrounding the dead lieutenant colonel, but how to find her? That's a challenge all by itself because Nola Brown is a lightning rod for trouble. Meltzer likes his conspiracy stories, and he puts a lot of work into them, but he seems to love his characters just as much. Zig and Nola are two of his strongest characters, and it feels like there are plenty more stories to be told about them. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Zig and Nola are back in this fast-moving thriller laced with blood and wit. In "the last fourteen minutes of his life," Wojo the valet steals Archie Mint's BMW and drives it to the Mint family home, led there by the car's GPS. It's a robbery scheme that's worked before, but this time both the valet and Mint-who followed him-end up dead, shot by someone waiting in the house. Jim "Zig" Zigarowski works at Calta's Funeral Home and is an artist in making the dead look their very best. One woman "hasn't looked this good since Reagan was President," he's told. Before Calta's, he'd been a mortician at Dover Air Force Base, which houses "America's most secretive funeral home," for two decades. Zig's gift is to be able to repair any body, no matter how badly damaged. Now he's called back to Dover to take care of murdered veteran Lt. Col. Archie Mint. He has no idea what the government is up to, and he just wants to show the greatest respect for the dead. As he works, he always talks to the deceased as though to comfort them-he's odd but obviously decent. He's also a beekeeper who converses with the hive. Then, at the funeral home in Dover, he sees the Army's Artist-in-Residence, Sgt. Nola Brown, the lightning rod who attracts so much trouble. She'd not only saved Zig's daughter's life when they were Girl Scouts, but two years ago she'd shot her own foster father in the head to save Zig's life. "Nola didn't walk; she lurked," and her "sheer intensity...radiated off her, like plutonium." Zig and Nola discover something "fishy" about Mint's death. He'd been about to take secrets of criminal activity to his grave, and Zig and Nola might get killed trying to uncover them. The plot carries the story to a government facility called Grandma's Pantry, apparently a real place where the feds once stored supplies for the aftermath of nuclear war. The characters are mostly delightful, including Nola's cop brother, Roddy, who is trying not to be the monster he'd apparently been as a kid. "We each have a little monster inside us," as he was told. Not so delightful are the Reds, two redheaded killers who aren't above sawing tracheas. There's plenty of clever dialogue and details like the woman with the rhinestoned oxygen tank. A smart crime package, both funny and serious. Copyright Kirkus 2022 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Terms of Use   ©Copyright 2022 Follett School Solutions