The Brooklyn shooting of Manhattan city council member Dean Zaporelli sends NYPD Detective Nikki Trakos on an investigation of the past in her first case since Dead Ahead (1990). ``Go down to the Lantern Light Theater,'' reads a note. ``Find out who Tony Zim was.'' Nikki discovers that Zaporelli's missing son, Matt, was connected with the deaths years earlier of a young Lantern Light hanger-on named Lisa Hirsch (overdose) and a man named Bernard Chase, who, it turns out, was shot with the same gun that later killed Zaporelli. Battling the higher-ups that want her off the case and her own fear of commitment to her old partner-cum-suitor Dave Lawton, Nikki, like Lew Archer, asks improbably unerring questions, knows exactly when to go back to a suspect who's been lying, and remembers everything she needs to in order to follow a sordid trail of blackmail, homicide, and coverups. But the rewards--a meaty investigation handled with insight and compassion--are Archeresque too. Nifty, out-of-the-past intrigue unpacked with authority and punch. Welcome to the pros, Nikki.