The suspicious death of a client sends a Portland social worker into an emotional tailspin and prompts him to investigate.
A cool contract killer known only as Wolf dispatches a drug thug dubbed AK in the first of several killings counterpointing the main narrative. Brian Hanson, a psychologist for a social-services agency in Portland, has an upsetting discussion with client Tammy LaFleur about her missed appointments and possible return to drug addiction. When Tammy is found dead, shot in the face, Hanson can’t accept the official ruling of suicide. A Vietnam veteran with a history of violence and a recovering addict himself, Hanson contacts his sponsor, police detective Robert McFarlane, to help keep from going off the deep end, and begins to investigate. His inner turmoil puts a strain on his already shaky relationship with wife Jeanie, a hard-charging banker. At her gym, she flirts, then eases into an affair with handsome deputy mayor Tony Dorsey. Hanson questions Tammy’s father, retired Police Chief Grundig, as well as her roommate Trixie. Not long after, both turn up dead. The reader learns, meanwhile, that Dorsey engineered his affair with Jeanie for criminal purposes. Luckily, Hanson gets help from FBI agent Louise Parker, daughter of a favorite client.
Schorr (Gunpower, 1991, etc.) crafts an ingenious plot, full of clever twists and surprises, though his prose rarely rises above clichés or his characters above stereotypes.