294 pages. Acknowledgments.
This is the second book published in Moore's San Francisco mystery series (although the third to be written). This novel is set in the immediate wake of the previous novel, The Poison Artist, but it is not a continuing story arc, and only one minor character appears in both novels.
Gavin Cain has abruptly become a senior homicide inspector with the San Francisco Police Department, after several of his fellow inspectors died in a previous case. He has received a videotaped deathbed confession causing him to have a coffin that was buried in 1985 exhumed. But his work is interrupted when a helicopter is sent to bring him directly to city hall.
The mayor reveals that he has received photos in the mail depicting a beautiful, unconscious, naked women chained to a bed. The blackmailer promises to send more photos if the mayor does not commit suicide. The mayor claims innocence.
Cain, along with an FBI agent, must now unravel the blackmail plot, while he also covertly stays in touch with his inexperienced former partner over the cold case – the exhumed casket contains two bodies, one buried alive…
This is a suspenseful mystery as Cain and his allies uncover the clues, while the author slowly reveals the story behind Cain's lover, Lucy, who never leaves her house.
Again, the author has entwined the story into the history and geography of the San Francisco Bay Area, so that if you know the places, you can almost follow the action step by step.
Not suitable for younger readers, as the plot involves drugs, sex and violence. Also some autopsy scenes and suicides.
Can you game it? No, but you might get some ideas for characters and forces to add to your next Pulp adventure.
Recommended as a solid mystery. Stylishly done. Parts of the plot seemed over the top to me, but it didn't ruin the book.
Reviewed by Editor in Chief Bill .