Cleveland Homicide Detective Stacy Tavitt is contacted by a former college classmate who asks for help in finding her missing son, Colton. Still reeling physically and emotionally from her last investigation―which led to the disappearance of her brother--Stacy reluctantly agrees. At first, there is little reason to suspect foul play in his disappearance until he becomes the primary suspect in the murder of an ex-girlfriend. It’s a race against the clock as Stacy tries to find out what happened to her brother and clear his name, all while stopping a lethal killer who continues to target the friends and family connected to Colton. Beset by threats inside and outside of her life, Stacy must go to great lengths to find a killer and save her brother.
Parker (Code for Murder) has a nice feel for the Cleveland setting, and the city acts as a continuous background character. In this urban environment he also does a terrific job of setting up action scenes—a SWAT team raid is suffused in claustrophobic tension. Indeed, a gritty atmosphere permeates the book: Parker shows, with Tavitt's brutal questioning of a suspect, that women can be as at home in a noir as any man. Although at times the plots get complex—referring to earlier books in the series—and it can be hard keeping track of the large cast, the fast-moving scenes and the engaging leads carry the reader through to the end.
Chief among those leads is the troubled Tavitt, a multidimensional character far more rich than the usual "tough cop" trope. Her lungs were damaged in the line of duty, and the wound at times proves as psychological as it is physical, as she fears that the injury will end her career starts to define her. Her deep relationship with her partner Austin Cerrera runs the gamut from caring to rage, and the complexities of their deeply entwined bond ring true. This is also the case with Tavitt's troubled history with her mother and brother. Tavitt's all-to-human struggles will leave readers deeply invested in her personal and professional triumph.
Takeaway: Fans of police procedurals will revel in this action-packed story with its winning team of detectives.
Great for fans of: Joseph Wambaugh, Ed McBain.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-