After a female student who has made sexual advances toward him is found dead, Pittsburgh criminology professor and former cop Cyprus Keller conducts an independent investigation to clear his name and solve the murder.
A marathon runner, Keller recalls the circumstances of the case as he competes in a long-distance run through Pittsburgh. The opening tease is that one of the other runners isn't going to make it to the finish line because Keller, knowing what he now knows, is going to kill him. Did Keller's graduate assistant, who attacks the professor with a crowbar, kill the girl? Did the nasty dean of academic affairs, who suspends Keller without cause, have something to do with her death? Or was it one of the other teachers at Three Rivers University? The murdered student, we learn, had her own hidden motive for coming on to Keller. This first novel by Hensley, himself a former police officer and marathoner, is a seductive love letter to Pittsburgh: The author is at his best describing its neighborhoods and scenic appeal. Marathon runners will find much to enjoy in the book, which charts, mile by mile, the experience of participating in one of these races. But as a mystery, the book is humdrum, boasting a starchy plot and unfortunate sentences such as, "When I unleashed all of my strength into his neck, his feet left terra firma and his head cartwheeled toward it."
The city of Pittsburgh is the best character in this workmanlike mystery.