What did you do over your summer vacation? Brooklyn schoolteacher Raymond Donne uses the last two weeks of his to get in way over his head when a shooting much too close to home pulls him into a case of smuggling and murder.
One moment Ricky Torres is sitting in his cab talking to Ray; the next, he’s been blown away by a shooter who almost gets Ray as well. What had Ray’s former friend and colleague from the NYPD wanted to talk about at 2 a.m., and who didn’t want him to finish the conversation? No sooner has Ray, defying his uncle and namesake, NYPD Chief of Detectives Raymond Donne, started to ask questions about Ricky T than he’s getting answers that make him uneasy. Though he’d announced himself unready to return to the force, the Iraq vet was evidently done marking time by driving a cab for his cousin Fred’s company; he’d put in quietly for reinstatement. And he’d applied for a Veterans Affairs loan on a $900,000 apartment, pledging to make a 20 percent down payment Ray can’t imagine how he could’ve come up with. It’s not just his uncle’s pressure or the approaching school year that keeps Ray from making further inquiries. Jack Knight, another old NYPD colleague who’s turned private eye, asks him to question a witness to a routine traffic accident, and before he knows it, Ray is summoned to a private audience with PR mogul Charles Golden, who’s hired Jack to trace his missing 16-year-old daughter, Angela. Everyone concerned struggles manfully to pretend the two cases have nothing to do with each other, but most readers will know better.
Ray’s third case (Crooked Numbers, 2013, etc.) presents another tangled mystery and another forgettable killer. But the acrid, knowing Brooklyn atmosphere is strong enough to bottle.