A hard-boiled shamus knows better than to answer the distress call of his ex...or does he?
Police pay a visit to Cleveland gym owner and sometime private eye Lincoln Perry (Sorrow’s Anthem, 2006, etc.) when wealthy Alex Jefferson is found in a dumpster, the victim of torture and murder. Jefferson’s widow Karen is Perry’s ex, and the last time he saw Jefferson, he beat him to a pulp at Jefferson’s country club. A week later, Karen calls Perry, and against his better judgment, he goes to see her. Jefferson left a huge estate, much of it to his missing son Matthew. So Karen hires Perry to find her estranged stepson and give him the news. When Perry tracks Matthew down in Indiana, the young man pulls a gun but uses it to commit suicide, making Perry again a murder suspect until forensics clears him. Teaming at times with Cleveland detective Harold Targent, Perry sets out to discover Matthew’s secret in hopes of identifying Jefferson’s killer. A violent ex-con named Andy Doran may hold the key. Many twists await along the way, with Perry himself never far from the dubious status of prime suspect, much of the evidence apparently designed to frame him.
The plot has its share of boilerplate elements. But sentence for polished sentence, no one in the genre writes better.