Williams’ (Grass, 2011, etc.) latest thriller reunites police detectives Sal Mitchell and Eddie “Sandman” Sandovan to solve several baffling, gruesome murders.
In the opening to this sequel to Williams' debut thriller, a severed head is found on the fence of a public garden. It’s not just any head: The murdered man turns out to be the president of a local college. When the heads of other prominent public figures start appearing around town, Mitchell and Sandovan must uncover the connection between these seemingly unrelated victims. Meanwhile, Mitchell’s ad-executive girlfriend, Mya Laing, preps for an important pitch to a Japanese company that’s developed the world’s most technologically advanced razor. When she suddenly disappears the day before her presentation, Mitchell makes the investigation personal. Williams, a marketing and advertising veteran, skillfully and realistically depicts the fast-paced atmospheres at the ad agency and the police department. He supports his convincing character relationships with quick, naturalistic dialogue, and uses humor with a light touch to help offset the story’s more grisly elements. Indeed, this enjoyable novel’s main shortcoming is that it feels too short. While the story has a gratifying ending, readers may wish they were able to spend a bit more time with the characters. If Williams’ aim is to leave readers wanting more, he succeeds; he does include a passage from the series’ next installment. If he broadens his scope and continues to create such likeable characters and nimble plots, he may establish an enthusiastic following.
A too-brief thriller that otherwise has all the right elements to satisfy readers.