The killing of Dallas drug lord Ricardo Salazar leads to complications both personal and professional for detectives Rob Soliz and Frank Pierce.
The detectives, part of the Dallas Criminal Intelligence Unit, were watching Salazar’s place when they saw a red-haired woman enter the building. Shortly after, they heard shots. Inside, they found a dead Salazar, a voodoo doll—but no redhead. The drug lord’s death sets off a wave of gang killings in Dallas, and Pierce wonders if drug dealer Levern might be involved because Levern reputedly has a voodoo link through his Louisiana grandmother. Since Pierce rescued Levern years earlier from a street attack, part of the detective wants Levern to be innocent. But that’s not Pierce’s biggest problem. He consults Dr. Alma Hawkins, a redheaded professor of religious studies, about the voodoo angle and is convinced she’s the woman he saw at the crime scene. Yet even after another witness identifies her as being at the scene, Pierce goes on to become intimately involved with her. This rambling story is filled with clichés (words “were burned into Frank’s memory”; “cold crept through his blood”) and contradictions—Frank spends lots of time shopping for food yet “hadn’t figured out the whole eating thing cops held so dear.” The addition of a hired assassin does little to enliven the plot, and the characters, although assigned various tics, never become people the reader will care about.
One wishes the author (The Burial Place, 2018) would have used his own background in law enforcement to enhance this run-of-the-mill mystery.