5 of 5
City on Edge
400 pages; Bantam
When it comes to thriller settings, Stefanie Pintoff knows that Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade can be even better than the Super Bowl or a visit from the pope. Although each scenario promises lots of behind-the-scenes action and hordes of innocent people standing in harm's way, the parade also has a unique potential for the absurd—snipers among Snoopy and Spider-Man balloons! domestic terrorists aboard Santa's sleigh!—and Pintoff squeezes every bit of drama she can from the setup. More remarkably, she makes it all seem plausible. The novel's protagonist, Eve Rossi, is the head of a covert FBI team of sharp, scruffy agents, most of them ex-cons, charged to investigate an assassination attempt on the New York police commissioner and his daughter's kidnapping. Pintoff is equally comfortable writing about high-tech hackers and gutter-level knife fights, tough-as-nails cops and vulnerable kidnapped teens. Above all, though, she excels at reminding us that a clock is always ticking—ransom due for a kid, an imminent attack on the parade—and tops off the tale with a wild, high-tension climax. Hang on.
— Mark Athitakis