Would a serial mugger escalate to murder?
Like most expectant fathers, Jake Hines, chief of detectives in Rutherford, Minn., is fearful to the point of paranoia that something will happen to his wife Trudy: She’ll fall on the ice, her car will get stuck in the snow, she’ll reach for something and crack into a million pieces. Compared to that, what’s the threat of a mugging or two? But the attacks escalate up to six, and all the victims seem to remember is that their purses were snatched and their attacker wore a jogging suit. As the muggings continue, their violence escalates: more bashing of the victims, more physical abuse. So when a woman who lies bleeding on the concert grounds dies soon after, it seems that the mugger is exploiting his taste for mayhem. Or is he? Jake (Crazy Eights, 2005, etc.) isn’t so sure, and his detectives aren’t either, especially when a cult preacher pops up in their sights and a veritable fleet of suspect Camrys can be traced to a single used-car lot, where a passel of sales goons have dreamed up a double-cross sweet enough to make them rich forever—unless murder intervenes. Again.
What Ed McBain was to the big-city police procedural, Gunn is to the small-town force. A cast this engaging should have a TV show.