In 1940s Detroit, racial tensions pulse through the investigation of an heiress’s murder.
Rugged, eyepatch-wearing Pete Caudill, a beat cop recently promoted to detective, begins his tale on a hot June day in 1943. Pete and Bobby Swope, his new partner, have been ordered to find wild child Jane Hardiman, the young adult daughter of an influential Grosse Pointe industrialist. The cops have ignored or covered up Jane’s many past excesses. She’s recently been dating a small-time black criminal named Donny Pease. Pete stands uncomfortably by while Bobby attempts to beat information out of black informant Toby Thrumm. It’s the first of many ethical dilemmas the new detective faces, not all because of his new job. He’s falling a little in love with his brother Tommy’s widow Eileen but worries about going any further for fear of confusing her young son Alex. And is it his place to say anything about Eileen’s recent promiscuity? When the detectives find Jane’s body in Pease’s shabby apartment, it’s only the beginning of a twisty probe that blurs the line between the professional and the personal. The addition of two patrolmen to the investigative team complicates matters for Pete, but not as much as Bobby’s fatal shooting while chasing a suspect.
The depth and sincerity that shine through Bartoy’s sometimes overheated prose make this a promising debut.