Sacramento detectives inch closer to a serial killer—or killers—in the conclusion to Booth’s (Crimson Park, 2016, etc.) mystery trilogy.
The On-going Investigation Division handles cold cases for Sacramento PD. The current case for detectives Jake Steiner and Stan Wyld and assistant Mallory Dimante is a missing person. Or it was until they find the mutilated remains of the missing movie producer, along with someone else’s. As the investigation progresses, OID links at least one individual to the producer and Olive Park, an earlier cold case. Said individual threatens one of the detectives, and Mallory, after watching footage of the incident, determines the assailant had demanded a bear. This must be a teddy bear belonging to 7-year-old Jessie Cooper, but she and her older brother, Michael, both also connected to Olive Park, ran away from Child Protective Services. There is, however, a deeper mystery. The car in which cops found the bodies contains a fingerprint belonging to Anna Chase, an 11-year-old in New Jersey. As OID struggles to make sense out of the evidence, the trio learns of another related murder and adds people to their growing suspect list. Behind the murders lies a sinister scheme that will put at least one OID member in danger. Reading Booth’s trilogy from the beginning is a necessity. While the third installment incorporates the occasional recap, plot twists, characters’ surprise returns, and deaths are more shocking with knowledge of Books 1 and 2. The author tidily wraps up the convoluted story, most of it stemming from the preceding installments, by tying off loose ends and providing clear motivations. The murder mystery takes precedence, but nuanced relationships are a bonus, from Michael’s protecting Jessie to a possible romance between Jake and Mallory. Much of the book is unsettling. Corresponding atmospheric scenes include searching a small passageway with an odor that hits the back of Mallory’s throat, “like biting on aluminum foil, with a bouquet of rust.”
A solid, entertaining, and unnerving series ending.