An Internet-age murder mystery with a modern edge.
LeRoy’s debut novel takes readers back to 1998, when the onslaught of online communication presented new forms of social interaction. But the light whimsy of chat rooms and cyber encounters turns dark when a man hoping to meet his new love interest in person instead ends up dead. Johnny D’Agostino’s computer reveals a series of effusive emails between himself (“JohnnyD”) and Frankie Fitzgerald (“Frankie007”); the last one indicates an agreed-upon romantic rendezvous at the Triton Babies fountain at the Boston Public Garden. Detective Peter Angelo, a friend of Johnny, is assigned to the case, and must separate his grief from the task of tracking down Frankie and getting to the bottom of the mystery. But Peter has other suspects to weed through: He soon discovers that Frankie’s jealous lover, Matt, was aware of the virtual courtship and might have played a role in ending Johnny’s life. Matt has mysteriously vanished, and Peter’s determined to track him down in order to see justice served. As both men end up pursuing the same woman, however, their desire for her escalates, blinding both men to precautions and safety. At the core of the mystery lies the bigger conundrum of Johnny himself; as is often true in the faceless world of the Internet, each character’s outward persona differs from his or her inner core. The complex entanglements between Frankie, Johnny, Matt and Peter reflect the novel’s theme: that love is difficult in all its forms. Despite the central relationship’s virtual quality, it contains the same seeds of envy and revenge as a real-life love affair. Overall, this gripping tale of suspense and romance, told via the alternating viewpoints of Peter and Matt, deeply explores timeless themes of obsession and jealousy.
An engaging thriller that highlights the universality of love.