This stand-alone thriller by the author of the Lincoln Rhyme and Kathryn Dance novels introduces Corte, an officer of the Strategic Protection Department, an arm of a larger government agency tasked with protecting individuals who have been targeted for abduction or murder (among other crimes). Henry Loving, a brutal “lifter” who specializes in “physical extraction” of information, has apparently targeted a cop, Ryan Kessler. The details are shaky: Corte’s people don’t know why Kessler has been targeted or what information Henry Loving is after. But Corte must do everything in his power to protect Kessler. This is a slightly unusual novel for Deaver. It’s a prolonged cat-and-mouse game-a familiar format to the author’s fans-but the novel is relatively free of Deaver’s customary neck-wrenching plot reversals. He’s got a few tricks up his sleeve, but readers expecting the kind of jaw-dropping, out-of-left-field twists he specializes in might feel a bit cheated. Make no mistake: this is a fine thriller with strong characters and a compelling story. But Deaver devotees need to be forewarned not to look for any showstopping reverse pivots.