The shooting of an apparent serial killer allows the LAPD to close the books on seven murders—but private eye Elvis Cole won’t have it.
Dead suspects don’t look any more guilty than Lionel Byrd. In his hand is the gun that fired the fatal shot into his head; at his feet is an album with Polaroids of seven women who’ve been killed at the rate of one a year, each photo snapped moments after the subject’s death. Homicide detective Connie Bastilla is only too happy to write finis to a troublesome case. But Cole, who produced the evidence that allowed Byrd’s lawyer to verify an alibi for the fifth murder, isn’t convinced. And he comes up with enough evidence to convince the seventh victim’s brothers to quit beating him up and help him investigate further. The harder Elvis digs, the more Byrd’s suicide looks like a murder whose evidence the cops are deliberately sweeping under the rug. But how far does the cover-up extend, and how high up are its beneficiaries? With some help from Detective Carol Starkey, late of the bomb squad, and his partner Joe Pike, whom nobody’s ever accused of being too sensitive, Cole follows the trail through a string of well-placed twists to a satisfying climax.
Some of the twists are more convincing than the last one, which leaves a few loose ends. But it’s great to see Cole (The Forgotten Man, 2005, etc.) back in action.