A New Orleans detective searches for the motive behind a puzzling series of murders, all with the same calling card left by the killer.
Still adjusting to his new home in the Big Easy, police detective Quentin Archer is developing a name for himself for the intelligence with which he conducts his investigations. That includes his work on the case of a murdered judge, during which he revealed dirty police work in the department. In that same outing (Casting Bones, 2016), Quentin made a tentative connection with Solange Cordray, a voodoo practitioner who seems to have special insight into his cases. Solange is the daughter of a family of voodoo women, and she keeps the family tradition alive in order to stay connected to her mother, who’s alive but uncommunicative in a facility for those with dementia. Now that Quentin is saddled with a case that’s all but unsolvable, he seeks out Solange for help. He’s been investigating a rash of murders the press has dubbed the Thrill Kills; each victim has been posed with a can of Chill, a spray gas. In the absence of other leads, Solange is Quentin’s only hope, but he can’t even get close enough to her to get her to call him by his nickname, Q, let alone press her to help him solve the case before another body is found.
Fans of the series debut may be underwhelmed: Bruns provides few new details of the hero’s past and even less development of his relationship with his unlikely collaborator.