Knowles takes a break from the chronicles of dead-eyed professional thief Wilson (Rocks Beat Paper, 2017, etc.) to shine a remorseless spotlight on three variously bent Canadian cops seeking justice for a fourth who’s been gruesomely murdered.
Detective Julie Owen’s eight-month pregnancy ended when someone knocked her out, tied her to her own bedposts, cut her baby out of her belly, and left her to bleed out. DS Jerry Morgan, head of the homicide unit of Division 1 of the Hamilton Police, wants the case closed ASAP, so he puts three of his best detectives on it: Os, better known as the tin man because he’s all shield and no heart; his partner, Charlie Woodward, better known as Woody, who’s dealing with his own losses by bouncing between heroin and Adderall; and Dennis Hamlet, better known as a guy who closes cases even though Woody and Os want nothing to do with him, maybe because he’s a lot less smart than he thinks. No sooner does Dennis interview Lisa O’Brien, the friend and neighbor who found Julie’s body, then she’s run down by a car as she crosses the street. Where will it end? Not with Dr. Kelsey, who doesn’t want to say a word about the support group she ran for Julie, Lisa, and other bipolar patients; not with Julie’s mother, Miranda Owen, whose Alzheimer’s has stranded her in 1985 when Dennis goes to break the news of her daughter’s death; not with Tony Nguyen, the Vietnamese-Canadian who runs the Yellow Circle gang, which Julie and her partner, Oscar Ramirez, had been investigating in the days before her death. In fact, the evidence seems to lead more and more conclusively to “a group of suspects all carrying badges.”
A memorably coldhearted case that offers abundant evidence for the grim proposition that “not every cop is dirty, but the good ones are.”