Not just summer, either; there are enough corpses to carpet all four seasons in this high-casualty but curiously unengaging, whodunit. Everything starts when Channel 8 newswriter Michael Carpo (The Street Where She Lived, 1998, etc.), arriving in Bridgewater, Conn., for his annual week of housesitting for black journalist Jack Crawford, finds Jack gruesomely dead on his bathroom floor, his black Lab standing terrified vigil over the body. State Trooper Walker pronounces the death a suicide, but Jack's ex-neighbor Elizabeth Jessup insists that Jack's death has left "a ripple" that means he's died before his time, and with outside help. Crazy talk, thinks Carpo—until Bethie Jessup is drowned herself, propelling Carpo to the New Milford library to research other suspicious deaths in a heroic leap of logic typical of Carpo's maddeningly intuitive methods. Still, over the past two years, it turns out, somebody's declared open season on the senior citizens of the forgotten hamlet of Southville; no fewer than six graves mark his (or her) earlier successes. Naturally, Trooper Walker shakes off the evidence of wholesale slaughter, leaving Carpo free to pursue the case on his own, with time-outs for a decorous whirlwind romance with neighboring painter Amanda Cutler, who's got an unguessable surprise up her own sleeve. Despite gallons of gore, it's hard to care about homicide when the victims are little more than names and the hero's kind of a blank slate too. The culprit could be the lowest-impact serial killer in the business.
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