Corporate coaching can be fatal.
The wheels of corporate culture turn slowly. So it takes nearly a decade for HR executive and sometime sleuth Chuck Restic to phase out his Los Angeles company's involvement with the questionable consulting firm Power of One, a grandiose enterprise with a tenacious and charismatic leader but only two full-time employees. When Chuck visits the luxe home of Power’s head, Julie St. Jean, he’s surprised to find instead her business partner, Rebecca, who turns out, to his surprise, to be living with her. And that’s not the biggest surprise he gets. Inside Julie’s beautifully appointed “Dojo,” he and Rebecca discover the corpse of Lois Hearns, a freelance Power contractor. Two LA police detectives question and release Chuck and Rebecca. When Chuck meets with Rebecca a few days later, however, the news that Julie’s gone missing leads him to team up, however uneasily, with Rebecca, who’s as anxious to find her partner as he is. Her abandoned Bentley has been found at Union Station. Chuck’s questions cause Rebecca to realize how little she knows about Julie. The discovery of another body, that of a man named Fitch whom both Chuck and Rebecca claim not to know, leads to more mutual distrust even as it hints at a more dangerous killer. The pieces of the puzzle begin to come together with the revelation that Lois Hearns was a lawyer who brokered a prospective sale of Power of One. Even so, more victims will be claimed before Chuck can put it all together.
The subtly arch first-person narrative gives the third series installment from Phillips (The Perpetual Summer, 2018, etc.) a smooth noir vibe, and the additional wrinkle of an unreliable sidekick adds delicious tension to a plot that unfolds with a satisfying series of twists.