The chronicler of FBI agent Manny Tanno (Death on the Greasy Grass, 2013, etc.) launches a new series that brings a retired Denver cop back to his roots, and a lot of other people’s, in Cheyenne.
Even though they date back 10 years, TV reporter Ana Maria Villarreal’s station manager, DeAngelo Damos, thinks it would boost ratings if she did a special on the deaths of three Cheyenne police detectives less than a month apart. Everybody’s always believed that Steve DeBoer died in a house fire he accidentally set when he fell asleep smoking, and Gaylord Fournier’s death was a pretty obvious case of erotic autoasphyxiation. But Butch Spangler was shot by a gun that vanished from the death scene, and although Lt. Ned Oblanski’s always suspected Frank Dull Knife, the ex-con who was sleeping with Hannah Spangler, he’s never been able to find enough evidence to put him away. Enter Arn Anderson, formerly of Denver Homicide, who’s returned to his hometown and signed on as a consultant to the TV station to reopen the case. You can imagine how that goes over with Oblanski and Acting Chief Johnny White. Anderson wastes no time allowing Ana Maria to talk her way into an investigation he’d sworn to keep her at arm’s length from, acquiring an unlikely new sidekick, attracting a rash of anonymous demands to stop asking questions, getting bashed over the head, and rekindling his relationship with Butch’s sister, Gloria Spangler, the former cheerleader he dated in high school. In between these distractions, he patiently zeroes in on the Five Point Killer—who killed two still-earlier victims—that all three of the dead cops had been trying desperately to identify in the weeks before they died.
A slow-burning cold case with copious clues, conscientious detection, a high body count, periodic interruptions from the killer’s viewpoint, and all the pages and pages of unraveling you’d expect from such a generously plotted mystery.