A Santa Fe homicide detective fights to make a case against a high-profile killer she’s responsible for setting free.
Everyone on the force knows that Cody Geronimo, already famous as an artist, has taken his celebrity to new heights by strangling Linda Fager in her own shop and stapling her eviscerated face to the wall. Everyone in court knows that the night of the murder, Cody phoned his attorney, Marcy Thornton, a former associate in the firm of Linda’s fearsome husband, Walter, to tell her about the killing. The reason they all know of Cody’s guilt is that Detective Denise Aragon played the recording she made of that incriminating phone call in open court. But Judge Judith Diaz, ruling that Aragon has eavesdropped on a confidential consultation between an attorney and her client, turns Cody loose and paves the way for Aragon’s suspension. Stung by the shaky ruling by a jurist who’s sleeping with the defense attorney—Cody had been trespassing on private property when he placed the call and had no reasonable expectation of privacy himself—Aragon doubles down, working the case every chance she gets even as she remains haunted by the murder of Cynthia Fremont, who was given a pair of sunglasses to protect her eyes and tucked decorously into a sleeping bag after her violent death. Scarantino’s debut takes the time to delve into the highly questionable status of Cody’s lineage—is he Navajo, Apache, generic Native American, or simply a fraud?—and Santa Fe’s rich stew of ethnic and social conflicts in ways that would do Tony Hillerman proud.
Come what may, Aragon never loses her focus on tying Cody to an older homicide he was linked to years ago, with results equally surprising to her and the reader. First of a welcome series.