The first nearly perfect copies of US one hundred dollar bills appeared in 1989, or that's the first time someone was sharp enough to spot the flaws. Story goes it was a Philippine banker. The story also goes that North Korea was the maker, though if you listen to the conspiracists online the North Koreans weren't capable and it was the CIA passing bad bills to keep their black projects black, or they were printing them so they could track down terrorists by following the money. Take your pick. Officially, it's the North Koreans.
Those notes were called supernotes and were good enough to lead to all the changes in US money that came later, the big-headed bills, buried squiggly lines, all of it just ones the ahead of printer technology. I got interested in that and then in a what if scenario, and from that came Counterfeit Road, a story about an ex-Secret Service agent carrying hundred dollar bills and shot and killed under the former Embarcadero Freeway. That freeway was demolished after the '89 Loma Prieta quake and now it's just a clean walk across the promenade to the Ferry Building in San Francisco.
Alan Krueger was shot in 1989. Twenty years later it was a cold case and Raveneau's to solve. He can't do that without figuring out the hundred dollar bills and the bills lead to a distraught ex-Canadian revenue agent and transverse through the life of a former Pan Am pilot, and through his friends who were friends for life before everything changed. Raveneau and his partner, la Rosa, see the Big Island in Hawaii though not in a tourist friendly way. When the plot deepens the Secret Service and FBI get more involved. Their worries are now and Raveneau is right there with them, but he's also following the money, which means going back before racing forward.
A thing I love about crime fiction is that you can take something morally ambiguous and put in the background of a novel. There's a little of that in this one. You can never preach. No one ever wants to hear that, but you can write with things into the backdrop. I wrote this when the 'Birthers' were hard at work trying to separate Obama from legitimate citizenship via his birth certificate. No doubt for some Birthers it was just honest homework no one else was willing to, but there was a much darker thing there as well. It may have been in the Economist, I don't remember exactly where I read the word, other. Some Birthers worked hard trying to make Obama other than us. There's a little of that in this novel. But at heart it is a crime story and Raveneau's to solve.
Severn House Publishers Ltd., hardcover, May 2012, ISBN: 978-0727881458
"Russell has crafted an addictive police procedural on speed, with requisite intricate plotting and a stunning conclusion. It's all in the details, which Russell manages to juggle adeptly. If you've missed Russell in the past, grab the first title in the series, A Killing in China Basin, too."
"...the many unexpected twists and the genuinely shocking ending keep readers focused on turning pages."
"Russell smoothly blends mystery and thriller elements as the action builds to its satisfying climax..."