The creator of the murderous Butcher’s Boy (The Informant, 2011, etc.) and vanishing enabler Jane Whitefield (Poison Flower, 2012, etc.) summons a new hero to track down a killer with a penchant for strawberry-blonde escorts.
Catherine Hamilton may have been a call girl, but her parents are devastated by her murder. They offer LA shamus Jack Till $100,000 to find her killer. Jack, whose background is limited to his years as a homicide cop and whose private life, to an adult daughter with Down Syndrome and an ex-wife who left him right after Holly was diagnosed, quickly discovers that Catherine’s death was only the latest in a pattern that includes at least five earlier victims in cities across the country, all strawberry blondes, all available online and all, Jack concludes, shot by the same boyfriend who’d moved in with them for at least a month apiece. Why does he kill, what makes him treat his victims as he does, and how can Jack catch him before he kills again? As Jack’s figuring out the answers to these questions, Perry reveals them directly to his readers via a series of flashbacks to Joey Moreland’s early years, his criminal apprenticeship and his wholehearted embrace of his lethal vocation. He makes it clear, however, that the very limited amount Jack can learn about his flexible, resourceful, well-financed quarry won’t be enough to anticipate his next move.
The ending is a letdown, the same way waking up from a brutally suspenseful dream is a letdown. But there’s all the pleasure a master craftsman can provide every inch of the way there.