A down-on-his-luck ex-shamus returns to sleuthing to help his family.
To say that Jackson Donne is at a low point in his life is like saying a tornado is windy. Abruptly widowed, deprived unfairly of his private investigator’s license, he spends much too much time looking for solace in the bottle. Since he can no longer legally sleuth, he earns a pittance as a night-time security guard for a storage company. Enter Susan, the sister he’s been forever out of touch with by his own choice. You simply discarded us, she accuses him, because you were afraid to let anyone get close enough to hurt. Now, however, there’s trouble in the family, and Donne realizes how enlivening it is to be needed. Their mother has been saying strange, even scary things, Susan informs him, things that suggest a family past murkier than anyone has ever suspected. Are these the ramblings of dementia? Susan has to know. It may be that someone who plays for keeps wants desperately to see that certain secrets stay buried. An uncle and aunt are brutally murdered before Donne can question them. He himself endures a “message” beating. History, Donne learns the hard way, can have a long reach and a devastating punch.
This sequel to When One Man Dies (2007) shows distinct improvement. But tight-lipped, under-responsive Donne remains essentially charisma-challenged.