A woman’s suspicious suicide becomes another murder case for a squad of homicide detectives in this debut mystery and series opener.
A body means a trip to Georgetown for Detective First Grade Marcus Rose of the Washington, D.C., Police Department. Laura Whittington, daughter of pharmaceutical company President and CEO Robert Whittington, has died from an apparent suicide. Physical signs of strangulation and the right-handed victim seemingly shooting herself in the left temple lead Marcus to surmise murder, which a medical examiner later confirms. There’s even possible DNA underneath Laura’s fingernails, a chance that she scratched her assailant. Detectives canvass the area and question neighbors, and it isn’t long before they lock onto a viable suspect: boyfriend Walter Chase, who, according to the housekeeper, had been aggressive with Laura on previous occasions. Despite the lack of hard evidence, Marcus’ partner and fresh-from-Narcotics trainee, Detective Logan Steele, is sure Walter’s their guy, especially because he’s not particularly upset over Laura’s demise. But there’s no discernible motive, and as Logan aptly puts it, what reason would Walter have to kill his “meal ticket”? A closer inspection reveals a lot more going on, which may have something to do with the victim’s affluent father. One thing’s for sure: the solution won’t be as simple as it first appeared. White’s detective story starts off with a bang, quickly establishing the lead investigator and the murder scene. There aren’t many suspects, but the author still manages a twist or two before it’s over. Despite the sturdy mystery, the story occasionally feels like a mere introduction. Subplots involving other detectives, for example, sometimes go nowhere. Notwithstanding, supporting characters revel in the spotlight, like Detective Anthony “Big Russ” Russo, the 30-year veteran whose emotions are finally catching up to him, unable to stop himself from crying along with the victim’s mother. White’s descriptive details are effectually blunt: Marcus questions a man with “cold dark eyes that would bring a chill to most.” Contrarily, past and present tenses that alternate throughout the present-day narrative prove a little disorienting.
A few unresolved storylines, but the main attraction’s the investigation, which the author delivers with confidence.