A California cold-case division finds that the disappearance of a B-movie director/producer isn’t nearly as straightforward as it initially seems in Booth’s (Olive Park, 2011) sequel.
Fresh off the closing of the infamous Olive Park murders, the three members of Sacramento’s On-Going Investigation Division are ready to move on. But their next case is a surprise, as it involves a recently missing person: James Marston Jr., who runs Molten Pitchers, a production company that specializes in low-budget horror films. IT expert Mallory Dimante, a fan of Marston’s schlock, hopes to be more than just an assistant to detectives Stan Wyld and Jake Steiner on this assignment. She and Jake head to Marston’s house and soon learn that the filmmaker was a bit of a recluse and may have been missing a week or more before anyone noticed. OID eventually finds Marston—or some of him, at least—but some body parts left in a BMW complicate matters, as they belong to someone else. Soon, a recently released ex-con seems a likely suspect. Meanwhile, private investigator Peter Berlin may have found a link between the producer and the previous Olive Park case. At the same time, siblings Michael and Jessie Cooper, two Olive Park survivors, are dodging Child Protective Services as their aunt recovers in the hospital. They’re unaware that a dangerous person is after them for a seemingly innocent item they’re carrying. The novel’s ties to the series’ first book are gleefully intricate, but they also mean that reading the prior installment is a requirement. There’s an abundance of shocking moments, including details surrounding Marston’s will, cryptic notes from PI Berlin, and a witness who saw someone near the producer’s car. The pieces of the puzzle don’t all come together by the end, leaving much of the story unexplained—hopefully to be resolved in the planned trilogy’s conclusion. But this one does reveal a villain or two and puts an OID member’s life on the line. It’s also fun to watch the imperiled Michael try to squeeze money from a production company that’s working on an Olive Park–related project.
A thriller with an endlessly twisty plot and plenty of lingering questions for a third book to answer.