A San Francisco PI gets much more than he bargains for when he’s asked to investigate the suspicious death of a wealthy young woman.
Ex-attorney–turned–private investigator Lee Crowe hasn’t lacked for jobs in the six years since he was disbarred for beating the stuffing out of his now ex-wife’s lover, a California Supreme Court associate justice. In fact, most of his jobs in his early days as a PI came from his ex-boss attorney Jim Gardner, who likely has a finger in plenty of the city’s dirtiest deeds. When Crowe happens upon the body of a beautiful young woman on the caved-in roof of a Rolls Royce Wraith parked in front of the decidedly down-market Refugio Apartments, he can’t resist snapping photos for a quick tabloid sale. Jim spots the photo and offers Crowe another job. The dead woman is 20-year-old Claire Gravesend, and her mother, the wealthy and influential Olivia Gravesend, doesn’t believe Claire committed suicide. Crowe has Olivia’s considerable resources to back up his investigation, and he’ll need them. He flies to Boston to examine Claire's home, where he has a violent encounter with a knife-wielding intruder. Shaken, he returns to San Francisco, where he discovers that Claire's secret pied-à-terre is hiding something even stranger: a woman in Claire’s bed who looks just like Claire and shares the strange circular scars on her spine that appeared on Claire’s autopsy photos. Shocked but undeterred and not afraid to get his hands dirty, Crowe seeks answers from Olivia’s mother and Claire’s doppelgänger in a case that’s shaping up to be stranger than fiction. Moore's rough-and-tumble PI operates firmly in varying shades of gray; the author delivers enough action and atmosphere to satisfy readers who like their gumshoes old-school while having a lot to say about humankind’s hubris and preoccupation with eternal youth. The mastermind behind Claire’s death is truly vile, and the disturbing finale will linger. Luckily, Moore sets things up for a sequel.
Gritty neo-noir with an all-too-plausible speculative twist.