Jay Burgess – a police officer – promises Britt Shelley – a reporter – a big story and so she meets him in the evening. The next morning, she awakes in his bed, naked, next to the dead police officer, remembering nothing about the night. The autopsy reveals that he was suffocated with a pillow. Before Britt Shelley gets arrested, she is kidnapped by Raley Gannon – a former arson investigator and friend of Jay Burgess – who was in a very similar situation five years ago. He thinks these two incidents are connected with a big fire in the police headquarters. The fire cost seven lives and made Jay Burgess, together with three other men, a local hero for rescuing many people. His investigations revealed there was something wrong with the official version of the cause of this fire...
I enjoyed Smoke Screen with its many twists and turns, even though the story felt a bit long-winded and constructed.
Quotes from the book
"Everybody says, especially lawyers, that it's better not to say anything [during an interrogation]. But as a reporter, I know that people who refuse to talk look like they have something to hide."
"Last night you were my abductor and this morning you're the gracious host?"
"Who doesn't have a telephone?" - "I don't", he shouted back. She gaped at him as though he'd just arrived from another planet [...].
It was a testament to Britt's basic kindness that she remained sitting that close to the man, because he was no more inclined to bathe than he was to wash his hair.
Not that he minded being in the spotlight, but being a celebrity was timeconsuming.
What words could he use to make this ugliness any prettier?
"You're a cop who had a naked dead girl in bed with your houseguest."
"Let Jay go pick up your lady at the airport and break it to her gently that your dick got you in a heap of trouble last night."
"Turns out he didn't know his elbow from his asshole."
He'd benefited from the fire, and consequently from the deaths of the seven people who'd perished in it. And, in the depths of his soul, where one must be brutally honest, he wasn't all that sorry about it. What kind of man did that make him?
Pat resented the other man's bullying tone. Who did he think he was, talking down to him like that? He, who everybody knew was his father-in-law's whipping boy? He, who had a wife with a leg problem – she couldn't keep them closed.
Mostly, though, he missed his work, which he'd loved. Maybe he'd loved it even more than he'd loved Hallie. That was tough confession, but in all honesty, he regretted being robbed of his career more than he regretted losing her.
If everything Raley had told her was the truth, and she believed it was, then Jay had sacrificed a girl's life, his lifelong friendship with Raley, and even his own honor as a police officer. He'd forfeited all that to protect whatever it was that Raley had been about to discover, something so terrible that Jay felt he must confess it in order to die in peace. Unfortunately, his killer hadn't allowed him to unburden his conscience.
"Well, I'll be double-dog damned."
"I finally got a guy to marry me, and then he goes and drowns."
"With that kind of chickenshit attitude, no wonder you're a failure."