The adventures of Detective Jack Bailey continue as he and his partner run down clues in pursuit of a serial killer on the loose in Chicago in this sequel.
As in the first installment of the Bailey series, the past is always looming in this tale. The police detective’s PTSD both colors his interpretation of events and is affected by them. The trail begins when Sister Anne Celeste, a beloved elderly nun, is found strangled in her room with no sign of forced entry or struggle. Bailey and his young, college-educated partner, Karl “Sherk” Sherkenbach, complement each other, focusing on different clues and approaching witnesses in their own ways. But all the while, they are tossing jokes over each other’s heads, with Sherk favoring literary references and Bailey, old cultural allusions (“We’re about at Abbott’s place. Wonder if Costello’s there”). Since the nun served during the tenure of a priest accused of child molestation, they wonder if there is a connection. Their suspicions are confirmed when the second and third victims are suspected pedophiles. But the plot does not run in a straight line. There are many twists, some quite significant, as well as numerous subplots dealing with Bailey’s and Sherk’s personal lives, their ambivalence about hunting someone ridding the world of pedophiles, their attitudes toward the job, and even their finances. In many ways, Bailey is your typical fictional police detective. He lives alone; remains cynical and irritable; thrives on junk food; drinks too much; and answers to the requisite pain-in-the-neck boss. But Lelvis (Bailey’s Law, 2016) skillfully fleshes out what could have been a mere stereotype into a vibrant, living, breathing human being. She does this subtly with all her characters, assembling them brick by brick while simultaneously building plot tension through hints and innuendoes that are slowly revealed naturally as the story unfolds. Even the killer is no one-dimensional bogeyman but an empathetic individual developed through chapters devoted to him.
More than a straight-up police procedural, this tale gives readers the excitement of the chase while taking them deep into the psyches of its diverse characters.