Crime consultant Scott Drayco is in the middle of a thorny case in Washington, D.C. involving murder victims who were all wheelchair-bound. Then, out of the blue, he gets a worried call from a friend on Virginia's Eastern Shore about an attack on an innocent disabled girl.
Working once again with Sheriff Sailor and Deputy Nelia Tyler, Drayco discovers almost everyone believes the girl's attack was an accident. But he begins to suspect otherwise when he crosses paths with a badly disfigured man and the man's engimatic Goth son, as well as one of the smoothest and most dangerous figures Drayco has encountered in his career.
Meanwhile, his conflicted feelings toward the soon-to-be-divorced town councilman's wife, Darcie Squier, continue to simmer under the surface and threaten to undermine his focus and cloud his judgement. But he's well aware he needs to keep his faculties razor-sharp if he's to solve the riddle of whether the cases in D.C. and the Eastern Shore are linked - or is he dealing with not one monster, but two?
Plot: Lawson's novel is excellently plotted, unfolding with surprising but plausible developments. References to the previous novel in the series are well handled: brief, relevant, and elaborated upon as needed. Genre expectations are met and exceeded in this polished work.
Prose: Prose is clear and immediately impactful, building tension slowly and consistently. Point of view shifts can be disruptive, as readers are likely to engage most strongly with Drayco's perspective.
Originality: Lawson's novel offers a refreshing take on the traditional private-eye detective narrative. The focus on homicides targeting wheelchair using victims is especially intriguing.
Character Development: Lawson's novel is peopled with layered characters whose actions and motivations are rarely predictable. However, the voices of the individual players do not always vary significantly in tone; the novel may benefit from fewer shifts in point of view.
Date Submitted: August 08, 2019