A woman is left hanging on a rope in the middle of a circle of candles and an abundance of flies. The fire department responds to a report of a fire and find her before she dies. The attempted murder almost succeeds - she is left in a coma and will not survive. Detective Sergeant Riker and Detective Kathy Mallory are called to the scene. Both have a past with the woman - a former hooker.
Sparrow had been a snitch for Riker. She also had helped the 10-year-old Kathy when Mallory was a child on the streets in New York City. Mallory hates her now, although she wouldn't wish Sparrow dead.
This murder attempt has similarities from an unsolved crime committed 20 years ago. Mallory had heard her adoptive father Markowitz talk about it one night and hasn't forgotten. The retired detective from the cold case gets pulled in. Then another victim is found who had died a few weeks earlier but no one had noticed. She also was hung with candles around her. The flies had multiplied and were all over the body. There is a strong possibility that another young woman will be targeted. Mallory, Riker, Charles Butler, and the retired detective are working on the old and new cases to find the person following the pattern.
Meanwhile Riker did something he would normally never do. He stole evidence from the scene of the first crime. It is a copy of an awful western that is the end of a serial set. He knew the book was special for Sparrow and the young Kathy. Charles finds out about the books and finds the whole set. Neither of them know what the attraction was.
The reader is sure the direction O'Connell is taking this mystery - and the reader is probably wrong. O'Connell lays the pointing fingers towards one character, then another. The final conclusion is totally unexpected - at least for me.
There is one comedic character that I hope to see again. The poor white shield detective - a brand new detective who doesn't have his new gold shield badge. Deluthe is not wanted but is tolerated. He gets all the busy work jobs. Yet he persists. He wants to prove his worth, if only he will be allowed to.Mallory is still spooky, yet in each book of the series O'Connell brings a little more humanity to her. Sometimes, as in this book, the reader is the only person who knows the soft areas that Mallory occasionally reveals.
This is a good detective mystery, well crafted. We occasionally follow the latest stalking victim and feel the suspense leading up to her capture and hanging. Mallory's coldness wafts off the pages - those blue eyes seem to pierce the reader as well as the character she has targeted with them. Enjoy.
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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