The Pittsburgh Homicide squad catches two new cases, both with ties to the squad’s rookie, Colleen Greer.
Laura McCall has been stabbed to death. Her body was found by her boyfriend, but detectives are more interested in David Hoffman, her estranged husband. Colleen used to work as a counselor at the family counseling center where David was in charge. Now he’s clinging to his past relationship with her for reassurance as he fights his inner demons. Colleen, for her part, feels he’s innocent yet hiding something that could help with the case. Laura is soon joined in the morgue by strangling victim Jamilla Washington, 13 and pregnant. Her parents, former clients of the counseling center, are chronic alcoholics who left Jamilla to run the household and care for her younger brother and sister. Questioning her family and friends reveals that Jamilla spent a lot of time running errands, shopping and apparently signing in at the center, where everyone denies ever having seen her. Colleen is partnering the squad leader, charismatic Richard Christie. Her crush on him is intensified by the fact that her boyfriend is dumping her. Hours of investigation into every aspect of the two murders turn up many leads, but it’s Colleen's shocking hunch that pays off in the end.
Even though George (Fallen, 2004, etc.) reveals whodunit fairly early on, the skillfully rendered characters draw you into their lives. An excellent procedural.