Just what rookie shamus Alex McKnight needs: Maximilian Rose, the maniac who killed his partner and sidelined Alex himself from the Detroit Police Department 14 years ago is now back in his life again, phoning him late at night, leaving him red roses as mementos, and sending him letters bragging about what he’s going to do now that he’s out of stir. Except that he isn’t out, not according to the best authorities at Jackson State Prison, who report that he hasn’t left the grounds or even seen any visitors for years and years and has no plans to start now. So Alex, who’s already up to his neck protecting wealthy gambler Edwin J. Fulton III from whoever’s killing the bookmakers he owes, not only has to worry about Fulton’s imperious mother, who demands that he leave his cabin in the North Peninsula woods to babysit her son; and about Fulton’s wife Sylvia, Alex’s ex-lover; and about Sault Ste. Marie police chief Roy Maven, who’d just as soon clap Alex in prison as offer him a cup of coffee; and about Leon Prudell, the resentful ex-p.i. who used to work for the Fultons until Alex came along—he’s also got to worry about Rose as well. But how can Rose be messing with Alex’s head when he’s never budged from Jackson—or, if Alex’s nemesis isn’t Rose, how can he know details of the case Alex has never told a soul? If the answers are more ingenious than surprising, Hamilton, winner of St. Martin’s 1997 award for Best First Private Eye Novel, unreels the mystery with a mounting tension many an old pro might envy.