Readers soon realize that the title of this thriller has a double meaning. Rick Hoffman has come back to the house he grew up in, a money pit of a 1903 Queen Anne house that has been on the market for months with only one offer, so lowball that the realtor didn’t even acknowledge it.
Rick, a former investigative reporter who’s just lost his job as editor of a slick metropolitan magazine called BACK BAY, is in need of some fixing up himself. Unemployed, uncoupled (his ex-fiancée has moved on) and basically unmoored, Rick latches on to the idea of fixing the house up with the help of his next-door neighbor and then selling it for seven figures.
And then he finds the money in the wall.
What happens next sends Rick on a journey he never expected and shows him a side of his law-abiding lawyer father he never suspected existed. Leonard (Lenny) Hoffman looms large in the narrative even though as the story opens, he’s lying in a long-term care nursing home, a stroke patient unable to speak. He is able to communicate though, and his message to Rick is clear. Let sleeping Benjamins lie. But Rick used to be a reporter and old habits die hard.
This book is written in a cinematic way that keeps the action moving at a brisk clip. The plot keeps opening out and getting more and more sinister with each revelation that Rick uncovers. And along the way there are old girlfriends, former neighbors, and a whole lot of people who have been keeping a couple of really dirty secrets.
I can’t say it wasn’t a little formulaic and there were elements that were kind of predictable, but honestly—if you read a lot of thrillers, it’s harder and harder for a writer to surprise you. It’s enough that this book entertains.