In his second appearance (Racing the Devil, 2012), Nashville shamus Jared McKean goes up against Goths, vampires and other culture vultures.
Sebastian Edward Parker re-named himself Razor: “Sharp. Bright. Dangerous.” He was all those things and a predator as well, battening on teenage boys, charming them first, corrupting them when he could and delighting in the process. Razor enjoyed inflicting pain. The Parker Principle, as he’d called it in graduate school—cynical manipulation and blatant cruelty masked as sociological research—became a pillar of his lifestyle until someone killed him. Among those whose life he’s blighted is Josh McKean, the teenage son of Jared’s older brother, Randall. Though abused and discarded by Razor, Josh remains an acolyte. He begs his uncle to find Razor’s murderer. Reluctantly, Jared signs on, beginning a dark journey into a vicious world of sociopathic game players where hurting earns validation and victimization is a way of life. Meanwhile, Jared’s domestic arrangements are coming under increasing strain. Though emphatically straight, he shares a house with Jay, a gay friend who’s slowly dying of AIDS. Dying more swiftly of AIDS is Jay’s former lover. Jay and Jared take him in and care for him tenderly, an act of kindness that Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe and Lew Archer might have admired but would never have emulated.
Overplotted, but Terrell writes too well to dash hopes for a turnaround next time.