Leery shamus squares off against icy contract killer.
A methodical assassin known as The Professor is preparing his customized Remington 700 in order to complete another job. Meanwhile, his target, Dr. Anita Nazari, who’s been worrying about recent threats, is buoyantly interrupted by the arrival of her young daughter Mira and her boyfriend Tom. The newcomers temporarily abort The Professor’s mission, but he’s able to get off a warning shot that keeps Anita in a state of anxiety. Cutting rapidly between The Professor and Anita, Hunsicker soon adds a third, cheekier perspective: the first-person narrative of unwilling (and unwitting) sometime detective Lee Henry Oswald. Hank’s working in anonymity as a bartender and claims to like it until fate, in the form of his former police force friend Olson, intervenes. Olson manages to get Hank both fired and fired up about the plight of Mike Baxter, Hank’s brother-in-arms during the first Gulf War. Now dying in the hospital, Baxter implores Hank to find his daughter Susan. What should be an easy job becomes complicated and dangerous when Hank crosses paths with The Professor, who immediately takes him for an enemy, and Anita, whose protector he becomes. Despite numerous glitches, The Professor remains determined and resourceful—bad news for Hank and Anita.
Hunsicker’s third Oswald mystery (The Next Time You Die, 2006, etc.) is a triumph of style over substance—but oh, what style!