Riordan’s Texas p.i. with a degree in Medieval Lit is up to his anomalous old tricks, this time trying to crack a cold case while being chased by hot cops.
The San Antonio police don’t like Tres Navarre the least little bit. And they have their reasons. Item: a certain semi-disreputable friend of his, Ralph Arguello, is believed to have pumped a bullet into the chest of his wife, who happens to be homicide sergeant Ana DeLeon. Item: she’s now comatose, prognosis as dismal as it can get. Item: Tres has gone on the lam with would-be cop-killer Arguello, and the SAPD, in no mood to make nice distinctions, regards this move as big-time guilt by association. Of course, there’s much more to all this than meets the eye. Item: Tres and Ralph have been buds since high school, the kind that have always responded to trouble by covering each other’s back. Item: Ralph adores his Ana, Tres knows, and wouldn’t harm a hair of her much-loved head. Item: there’s no real doubt in anyone’s mind that whatever happened in Ana’s kitchen is inextricably linked to whatever happened 18 years back on Mission Road, to a well-to-do young monster named Franklin White, remorseless murderer of a series of blameless young women. No question that White is extremely dead, clubbed repeatedly by someone intent on rendering him so. Not much question either that White deserved what he got. But who wielded the lethal club? Tres is convinced that Ana had at last penetrated the mystery, and that’s why she was attacked. In order to take the heat off his pal and himself, Tres will have to find out what she knew.
Competent, but its Edgar-, Anthony-, and Shamus-winning predecessor, Southtown (2003), prompted expectations of something more.