After helping to send the wrong man to jail, a rape victim wants justice.
Chase Taylor, young and black, is erroneously identified as a rapist by the victim and goes away for a long time. It’s a particularly vicious rape coupled with a brutal beating that nearly kills Jill McKenzie, who’s no more than a girl at the time. Some 20 years later, Professor McKenzie sets her sights on reheating a very cold case. Sure she feels guilty over her tragic mistake in identifying the wrong man. But it’s more than that, she tells Chicago private eye Anni Koskinen. Since Chase is innocent, she has to assume that a predatory psychopath still prowls, a terrifying danger to others, and she wants Anni to find him. Anni’s less convinced that this is a good idea. So much time has passed, and she lacks the resources required to succeed where good cops and a professional investigation have failed. Reluctance yields to persistence, however, and Anni signs on. Soon enough, she discovers that the danger her client envisions is chillingly real. There’s every reason to believe that the MOs match in at least seven subsequent rape/beating cases, and no reason to believe the psychopathology has run its course.
Comparisons to that other Chicago p.i., Sara Paretsky’s illustrious V.I. Warshawski, are probably inescapable. When Fister (In the Wind, 2008, etc.) toughens Anni up a bit, she’ll justify them.