Down to the Wire Review
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It’s just another day at the Bergen News when reporter Chris Turley gets an anonymous tip—or at least it’s suggested that there’s an anonymous tip waiting for him, if he’ll meet the tipster at a park nearby. The guy on the phone sounds like an anonymous nutcase—but Chris decides to meet him anyway…just in case. Instead of getting a dubious tip, though, Chris soon finds himself in the center of a full-blown story.

While he’s waiting for his source to arrive, Chris witnesses an explosion in the medical center across the street—and, without thinking, he races in to rescue some of the survivors. His actions make him an instant celebrity—maybe even more famous than his late father, legendary journalist Edward Turley.

Just days later, when the anonymous tip pans out—resulting in a high-profile arrest—it seems that Chris’s luck can’t get any better. And it’s about to get a whole lot worse. Chris soon learns that his anonymous source—who calls himself “P. T.”—orchestrated it all. He planned the medical center explosion—and that’s only the beginning of his plan for Chris.

Down to the Wire is an intense crime thriller that turns the spotlight on an otherwise likeable hero’s ego—on his need to succeed. Having grown up in the shadow of his famous absentee father, Chris gets caught up in the case because he’s constantly hunting for that one big story—the one that will make him famous and win him a Pulitzer. He isn’t selfish or self-centered in any way; he’s just driven. But it’s that drive that gets him into trouble. He wants the attention and the adulation, but he soon discovers that the price is much higher than he ever expected.

As P. T. engages Chris—as well as the cops and FBI agents who eventually get involved—in a clever game of cat and mouse, you’ll find yourself playing along, trying to figure out his next step. You’ll wonder what he’ll do next, how far he’ll take it, and what he really wants. Unfortunately, though, the killer’s true motive isn’t exactly satisfying—which detracts a bit from the story’s conclusion. While I suppose that anyone who’s crazy enough to blow up buildings and kill at random would probably be crazy enough to do it just because, a real motive would have made the story feel more solid. Rosenfelt takes the time to build up the killer’s motive—but, in the end, it feels too simplistic.

Still, despite its abrupt and rather disappointing conclusion, Down to the Wire is a suspenseful—and often surprising—read that’s guaranteed to keep you guessing. The destination may not be the best, but the smart story makes for one exciting journey—and it’s definitely a trip worth taking.

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