A suspicious 12-year-old blaze is the main course in Buchanan’s banquet of homicide served cold.
Not even Miami’s Cold Case Squad would normally pay attention to law-office manager April Terrell just because she thinks she might have seen her pharmacist ex-husband Charles burned to death in a garage fire ruled accidental long ago. But Lt. K.C. Riley, haunted by the fiery death of her longtime lover, Homicide cop Kendall McDonald (The Ice Maiden, 2002, etc.), orders the squad to reopen the case, even though it means pulling them off the even older trail of an elderly Miami woman, strangled 24 years ago, whose death may be tied to seven others across the country. Sgt. Craig Burch and Dets. Sam Stone and Pete Nazario attack the ancient files with such vigor that the cold case rapidly heats up. Charles Terrell’s death conveniently coincides with a pair of homicides the city had been all too eager to close out. And Charles’s second wife, a calculating beauty now on her fourth husband, has present-tense troubles. Buchanan plots so generously and dovetails her dozen stories so diligently that foreground and background merge in an endless carnival of crime.
As a late-arriving FBI agent exults: “Only in Miami could a pregnant Miccosukee Indian cave in the skull of a Cuban exile who has snatched a native of Croatia. By God, I love this place!” Readers will too.