Philadelphia journalist Danny Ryan (The 8th Circle, 2016), reluctantly agreeing to help an old friend who was never even much of a friend, lives to regret it, which is more than you can say for the friend.
Back at Furness High, Greg Moss, quarterback of the football team, ran with an in-crowd Danny could only watch from afar and supply intermittently with weed. In the 25 years since, that crowd has thinned dramatically, along with some of its hangers-on. Three of Greg’s teammates on the Furness Eagles are dead. Jenna Jeffords, an ugly duckling who aspired to write romance novels, died in a house fire, and Ollie Deacon, her prom date, was shot to death. Now Greg’s been getting threatening text messages with a biblical cast, and he wants Danny, who’s left the Philadelphia Sentinel and gone freelance, to see what’s up. What’s up, Danny swiftly finds, is the murder of Greg himself hours after their meeting, apparently the first new casualty of a killer who just can’t quit. The logical place for a muckraker like Danny to look is Greg’s real-estate work with Cromoca Partners, a shadowy development firm that’s maybe too well-connected in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. But Danny, still aching over all the personal losses he’s already suffered himself, can’t help thinking that the secret to Greg’s death lies in the wild parties he used to host back in high school—and one party in particular. Unless, of course, the multilayered mystery has ties to both Greg’s current dubious partners and his equally unsavory past….
Cain plots furiously enough for three installments and adds a remarkably florid climax and a series of downbeat epilogues for good measure. The payoff is some quality time with a hero whose “brain wasn’t working because his heart was broken beyond repair.”