A string of murders on Long Island leads a New York cop into a web of corrupt police officers and politicians in this first-rate suspense novel.
When NYPD Detective Lourdes Robles visits the family of a murdered woman, she’s outraged that the Long Island Police did nothing when the victim was reported missing nor saw the connections to five similar murders in the course of 15 years. The negligence touches a nerve because Robles’ younger sister has been missing for months, but it also eventually points to a powerful police chief who has good reason to want the killings overlooked. Blauner (Proving Ground, 2017, etc.) borrows a few characters from his previous outing, notably Robles, who is the heart and soul at the book’s center, as well as her aged Yoda, Kevin Sullivan.The murderer is revealed early on, and the story shifts among several time frames to show how 17-year-old Joseph Tolliver, the son of a policeman, rises to become top cop on Long Island in 2017 and, along the way, a serial killer. It begins when Tolliver lies as the star witness in a 1977 murder trial to help a crooked detective. That marks the start of his storing up favors and influence, manipulating weakness and frailty and the code of silence behind the badge. Other years in focus are 1982, when he commits his first murder as a policeman, and 2012, when he tries something different with a victim. The central conflict doesn’t favor Robles, a savvy but impetuous, flawed woman bridling at the Alpha-male cop world, compared with the coolly malign Tolliver, hampering, threatening, and mulling when to quash this hunter, as he has others. Blauner excels with strong, realistic characters, believable police work, and smart, propulsive dialogue.
A highly readable and unnervingly close-to-home view of power in the service of evil.