A cold case gets hot and deadly when a veteran detective digs too deep.
After catching the Black Sun Killer in his native Japan (Blue Light Yokohama, 2017), veteran detective Kosuke Iwata has left behind both Tokyo and his police career for sunny Southern California and work as a private investigator. Part of this transition has involved leaving behind his wife, Cleo, who recently died after having been in a vegetative state for several years following a suicide attempt. When Cleo’s mother, Charlotte, angrily confronts Iwata in his new life, demanding that he find the killer of her trans daughter, Meredith, both his conscience and his mother-in-law’s righteous rage dictate his compliance. Born Julian, Meredith was living on Skid Row at the time of her murder and making ends meet as a prostitute. She worked at the same club as her best friend, Geneviève, who’s now gone missing. A little digging reveals Meredith’s pimp, Talky, as her likely killer, and his death via overdose seems to put paid to the case. But defense wounds found on Talky’s corpse prevent Iwata from resting easy. The more he investigates, the more victims he finds: five altogether, dead or missing, by the time he confronts the man who links them all together. Interspersed flashbacks to 1975 Tokyo provide insight into the struggles and challenges facing Iwata’s mother, Nozomi, as well as his early life.
Obregón’s second is a neonoir gem with a compelling story, solid prose, and a brooding, honorable, and all-too-human hero.