A tense psychological thriller about an emotionally damaged New York City homicide cop.
Frank Parrish is consumed with resentment toward his late father, a celebrated officer who was secretly in league with organized crime. Add in the recent death of his partner in the line of duty and a strained relationship with his ex-wife and estranged children, and it’s no wonder Parrish is prone to drinking too much whiskey and playing too much Tom Waits. His dark worldview is reinforced by the case he’s investigating. A series of young, attractive women are found dumped around the city after being drugged and murdered. They all came from broken homes and their cases were handled by Child Services. Though he has no real evidence, Parrish suspects that someone there is selling the women’s case files to pornographers who abduct and kill them on camera. When he learns that Child Services staffer Richard McKee was caught with pornography, he becomes convinced McKee is the culprit and is obsessed with implicating him, through legal channels or otherwise. Since there’s only one suspect, the only mystery is whether Parrish is being brilliantly intuitive or coming unhinged. Much of the action is internal as he works on his family issues in therapy and bottoms out after a confrontation with his daughter.
Ellory (City of Lies, 2013, etc.) tells a compelling story with a well-drawn hero who’s admirable if not always likable—even if the ending wraps all the loose ends a little too tidily.