Burke resurrects NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher, daughter of a former cop, and has her and her partner, J.J. Rogan, investigate whether or not a long-convicted serial killer was really responsible for the murders that landed him in prison.
Ellie’s annoyed when her boyfriend and live-in lover, Max Donovan, an assistant district attorney, announces that she and her partner have been assigned to what’s known as a “fresh look team.” The two will reinvestigate the conviction of a man named Anthony Amaro, who may have killed a series of women years ago—including the older sister of an attorney named Carrie Blank. Now, Blank is on the other side of the fence; she’s working with a defense attorney to prove that Amaro isn’t a killer. The catalyst for the renewed investigation is the recent slaying of a well-known psychotherapist found dead in her own office. That’s problematic for police because the victim’s death mirrors the killings blamed on now-imprisoned Amaro. After a muckraking lawyer convinces a judge that Amaro is innocent, he’s released in record time, much to the displeasure of the Utica, N.Y., police, who put him away for the killings. Sent back to Utica to retrace the original investigation, Hatcher butts heads with local police. Meanwhile, other developments leave investigators wondering just how many killers they’re dealing with and whether or not the killings will continue. When Burke first introduced Ellie in 2007, she was a raw, impetuous young cop, and her energy and imperfect approach to cases made her adventures worth following. As Ellie has progressed, she’s become sullen, smug and self-righteous, as well as much less interesting. Here, she's up against a convoluted plot; the improbable concept that a judge would turn a convicted murderer loose in a matter of days based on a sliver of evidence; and an ending readers will anticipate almost from the first page.
Ellie’s much too good a character to waste in this lackluster, predictable potboiler.