Lieutenant Lou Boldt’s eighth case (after Middle of Nowhere, 2000, etc.) uses Seattle’s vast, unexplored Underground to link a pair of high-profile murder cases.
Mary-Ann Walker apparently fell from the Aurora Bridge; Billy Chen drowned while trying to fix a broken water main. But forensic psychologist Daphne Matthews, who’s working the Walker case along with recovering addict Sgt. John DeMaio, is soon caught in the middle of a firestorm of accusations between Mary-Ann’s brother Ferrell, a homeless fish cleaner, and her abusive boyfriend Langford Neal. And forensics bear out the conviction of Billy’s “second cousin,” Boldt’s longtime contact Mama Lu, that Billy didn’t drown. While the mystery of Billy’s death—how did a drowning victim come to have extra oxygen in his lungs?—lingers on the back burner, things heat up for Daphne, who finds herself hounded by King County Deputy Sheriff Nathan Prair, the former counseling client who’s still infatuated with her and keeps dogging her footsteps to prove it, and Gary Hollie, the inoffensive accountant who tries to come to her aid when her car breaks down and finds his life ruined as a result. The real danger, however, comes from Lannie Neal, who’s slick as can be about the well-documented trail of abuse complaints his earlier lovers have left, and Ferrell Walker, who insists that Daphne nail Lannie for his sister’s murder, smothers her with phone calls and help she doesn’t want, then turns on her when Lannie walks out of his prelim a free man. Long before it happens, fans of this high-octane series will foresee a showdown for Daphne, Boldt, DeMaio, and one of several perps in the century-old underground tunnels that hold the key to both investigations.
Middling, low-concept work from Pearson (Parallel Lies, 2001, etc.), whose handsome command of detail and breathless pace still bring it to the top of the summer’s pile of procedurals.