Michigan’s Upper Peninsula will have to take care of itself this time. A newly paroled convict has recalled Alex McKnight (Misery Bay, 2011, etc.) to Detroit past and present.
Before a shooting sidelined him from the Detroit PD, Alex helped put away Darryl King, a 16-year-old black kid he saw running from the scene of Wayne State student Elana Paige’s murder. Over several grueling days, Alex first chased the boy, then went through volume after volume of mug shots and finally played a key role in the arrest that was credited to Detective Arnie Bateman. Now Alex’s old sergeant, Tony Grimaldi, wants him to know that Darryl is back on the street. Alex, who admits that “I don’t have much of a talent for putting things out of my mind,” can’t stop himself from making the five-hour drive down to Detroit, where he has dinner with FBI agent Janet Long and improbably shares milk and chocolate cake with Darryl’s mother, Jamilah King, who thinks he’s come to apologize for locking up the wrong man. And, in fact, the more Alex thinks about it, the more he wonders if Darryl really did stab Elana Paige to death. Just as he’s convinced himself that Darryl’s mother is right after all, Arnie Bateman is killed under circumstances that make Darryl look guiltier than ever. So Alex is left in the ironic position of desperately trying to track down and vindicate a man he was once equally desperate to track down and lock up.
Hamilton always gives good value, and this swift-moving, moody tale is no exception, even if the very last twist is perhaps one too many.