The Inquisitor by Mark Allen Smith (Henry Holt, January 2012)
Geiger woke up in his late teens on a New York City bus with no memory of who he was or of a past life. The life he created for himself is that of an information gatherer, or torturer; it is a lucrative business and with no past, Geiger is able to live simply and focus on his job and the present. Geiger, though willing to inflict pain on people for money, does have some standards, one of which is that he won’t work on children. When one of his benefactors refers a client to Geiger who then shows up with twelve-year-old Ezra Matheson rather than the boy’s father, Geiger knows something is not right and that his client is not looking for a missing de Kooning, but something he doesn’t want even Geiger to know about. With the help of journalist and partner Harry Boddicker, Geiger takes the boy into hiding and works against the clock trying to find out his client’s true motive and save the little boy and himself.
Tautly-paced and plotter, The Inquisitor is a thinking book as much as it is an action thriller. There are some graphic scenes of torture, though Geiger’s rival torturer Dalton’s work is much cruder. Geiger is a very complex, interesting character, for whom debilitating migraines are a part of his life, but often lead to insight about his past. He is a character that you will want to meet again, though not in his loft, brought by someone who has stuffed you in a metal trunk.