The Dead Detective pursues miscreants attached to the Church of Scientology from their Florida headquarters to the Yukon State.
Sgt. Jocko Doyle, retired from the Clearwater Police Department, is one tough old bird. Shot twice in the back and pushed into a marina in pursuit of Mary Kate O’Connell, a friend’s daughter who’s joined the Scientologists, he manages to cling to a ladder long enough to get rescued. Even before the discovery of Mary Kate’s drowned body, Jocko’s adoptive son, Detective Harry Santos Doyle of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, vows to find the man who shot the only father he’s ever known. The job won’t be easy, since the assailant, Tony Rolf, is a sadistic sociopath sheltered by a church well-insulated from legal challenges that seems to have spies planted everywhere, ready to sabotage any investigation of their secretive doings. On the other hand, Harry (The Dead Detective, 2010) has a distinct advantage of his own: he hears dead people, or at least picks up whispered clues from beyond that begin by leading him to order a search for Mary Kate’s corpse and proceed to give him encouragement and information whenever a lesser investigator might have faltered. And a good thing too, since the powers arrayed against Harry range from Regis Walsh, head disciplinarian for the Clearwater Scientologists, and all his minions to Lucy Santos, the fanatical birth mother who tried to kill Harry (hence his nickname) and actually did kill his little brother when they were children and who’s returned to his life to try again.
Readers who can tolerate the clunky exposition, cartoon bogeymen, and snippets of Scientologist jargon will find the Alaskan finale a highly entertaining piece of payback.