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CLOSER STILL by Jo Bannister

CLOSER STILL

By Jo Bannister

Pub Date: Aug. 5th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-312-38367-1
Publisher: Minotaur

Brodie Farrell, owner of the Looking for Something? detective agency, and her choleric ex-lover, Det. Supt. Jack Deacon, compete once more to catch a killer whose crime has wildly unintended consequences.

Normally everyone in Dimmock would greet the demise of Joe Loomis, the town’s preeminent pimp, drug dealer and racketeer, with rousing cheers. But there are troubling implications when Loomis is stabbed to death. He’d just publicly slapped the face of his long-ago lover Faith Stretton, providing the otherwise inoffensive potter with a perfect motive for murder. As he expired in Brodie’s house, his last words—nothing more than the stammered letter “D”—pointed the finger at Brodie’s assistant Daniel Hood, who’d rebuked him for the slap; Faith’s mixed-race son Dev; and even his old nemesis Deacon, who’s shunted off the case in favor of an imported inspector. Already shaken by having to decide whether to sacrifice the eyes of the infant son Deacon fathered to protect him from the systemic effects of Retinoblastoma, Brodie struggles to keep her head when the emergence of still another D-suspect plunges the town into full-blown hysteria. Shrewdly as Bannister manages the resulting chaos, her tightly wound mystery is overwhelmed by complications spun madly out of control, leaving Brodie and Deacon, in their separate corners, laboriously recalculating the same deductions while Dimmock’s besieged from every corner.

Each one of Brodie’s cases (Flawed, 2007, etc.) is an original. Her eighth looks beyond her tormented regulars to the big picture—a calculated risk that doesn’t quite pay off.