Still traumatized by the death of his wife in a sailing accident 18 months ago, San Francisco homicide detective Michael O'Higgins is further tested on his first day back on the job by a gruesome double murder.
Rishi Chaundhry, an Indian man, and his family's sexy young nanny, Bharti Kumar, were both stabbed to death in their Nob Hill mansion. Rishi's aloof father, Nirad, a billionaire favored to become India's next prime minister, blames the killings on Rishi's distraught widow, Asha. He claims she acted in a jealous rage after learning her husband was carrying on with Bharti. In an odd coincidence, O'Higgins had just met and been drawn to Asha on a therapeutic ferry ride he took to deal with his fear of open water. (He still blames himself for the death of his wife, whom he was unable to save.) The more intensely he becomes involved with Asha, whose children are snatched and flown off to India by her father-in-law, the more his friends on the force worry about his psychological fitness. An Afghanistan veteran, the detective "regretted that he was not back at war, where things would be simple to understand." But when O'Higgins is attacked by an intruder sent for Bharti's cellphone, the possibility that Nirad had something to do with the killings grows stronger. While Harrington's understatement can be a strength, the emotional payoff is a bit more muted than one might hope for. And does the author really have his protagonist praise Michael Connelly, who wrote a blurb that's used on Harrington's books? But this is still strong, hard-edged stuff by a writer in complete control of the narrative.
Respected noir veteran Harrington (The Rat Machine, 2013, etc.) returns with a tough and thoughtful novel about grief and its consequences.