A CRUEL SEASON FOR DYING by Harker Moore

A CRUEL SEASON FOR DYING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A ritualistic serial killer is targeting beautiful gay men in New York City. He leaves his victims naked and posed like angels, complete with wings, but leaves behind no forensic evidence. As the angels pile up, frustration grows in the police team headed by Japanese-American homicide detective Jimmy Sakura. Leaks threaten to compromise the investigation. Dogged tabloid reporter Zoe Kahn apparently has a pipeline to Jimmy’s inside information. (She’s sleeping with one of Jimmy’s detectives, Johnny Rozelli.) Moore casts a wide net in his series debut, tracking the private lives of Jimmy’s team, and giving nearly as much time to the murders themselves and to Jimmy’s tender relationship with his old-fashioned Japanese wife Hanae as to the investigation. An amateur sculptor, blind but proudly self-sufficient, Hanae finds her friendship with fellow student Adrian Lovett drifting into mutual flirtation. With each new murder, Moore reveals more details of the anonymous killer’s ritual and psychosis. Suspicion falls on Father Thomas Graff, who shares the killer’s interest in provocative photography. He becomes an even likelier suspect when two victims diverge from the expected pattern. Inside a small church, the bodies of eight-year-old Lucia Mancuso and elderly Father Kellogg are found, only the latter executed according to the killer’s m.o. But Graff’s suicide and still another murder put Jimmy back at square one.

Sufficient chills, but little shape or tension. The author seems concerned more with laying the groundwork for further episodes than crafting a taut tale, and mystery fans will deduce the killer’s identity early.

Pub Date: June 4th, 2003
ISBN: 0-89296-774-9
Page count: 312pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2003