A Chicago private eye who signs on to help a grieving father learns that grief can be complicated.
When Joan Richmond, 44, opens her apartment door to her friend and business associate Steven Zhang, he shoots her, then himself, leaving behind a signed confession. Exactly why he killed her is a matter of conjecture, though many testify that before the murder Zhang had been behaving erratically, like a man whose mind had suddenly broken under some impossible burden. Colonel Isaac Richmond asks private eye Ray Dudgeon (Big City, Bad Blood, 2007) to investigate his daughter’s murder, but Ray resists at first. Investigate what? he asks. How could the facts of the case be any more cut and dried? Not until the bereaved father offers him $50,000 “to bring me the truth of Joan’s death” does Ray’s resistance crumble, partly because he needs the money, partly because he understands that facts are only facts, and truth transcends them. He begins a search that takes him to unexpected places, hidden corridors of power where he encounters dark and dangerous conspiracies. Along the way, he discovers that truth can be elusive and that sorrow too is a many-sided thing.
An engaging, Marlowe-like hero, but Chercover’s villains are mostly slick, one-dimensional operators on behalf of a malevolent government, and we’ve seen their like before, in and outside the pages of fiction.