Note: While this is Book 2 in the series, it works just fine as a stand alone.
Marty Singer returns to more private investigation work. His last case was forced upon him and he’s reluctant to take on this new case. He’s still fighting cancer and wants to focus his time and energy on that and enjoying what he can of his early retirement. But an aging cop, Sam Bloch, asks for his help in looking into four seemingly unrelated murders scattered across a few precincts. Right away, Marty is intrigued. On the surface, nothing appears to link the cases. Yet as he digs into the details, he begins to wonder if he isn’t dealing with a serial cop killer.
Once again, Matthew Iden delivers a captivating murder mystery. I really enjoyed Book 1 (A Reason to Live) and this book continues the same quality entertainment. Marty is a bit of a history buff, a little bit of a wise ass, and a sometimes lonely man who has his heart in the right pace. Amanda Lane, who we met in Book 1, continues to be his surrogate daughter. She’s graduating and has started applying for jobs, some of which could take her out of the DC metro area. Poor Marty has a little heart ache over that but would never ask Amanda to take a job closer to home if it’s not what she wanted.
The murder mystery itself was fascinating. There are details in each case that fit the theory of a serial cop killer, but then there are also a few details in some of the cases that don’t fit. So it’s a bit of a jumble upon first inspection. I really enjoyed watching Marty dig into these cases. The cops were undercover, incorporating themselves into various gangs in the area. The author did a great job of showing how that undercover work affected the cops’ families.
There’s some nitty gritty goodness for this story and it gave this almost hard-boiled cop ambiance to the plot. I like that things are messy and that Marty has to keep reminding himself that not everyone (outside of certain professions like cops and medical personnel) can look at crime scene photos the way he does. While the gruesome violence is made crystal clear to the reader, the author doesn’t linger over it. This isn’t a horror flick; it’s a great PI crime story with a few horrific details.
The ending was satisfying. The murder mystery had me guessing at the details until the big reveal. Marty experiences some danger and putting the killer away is a little slice of bitter justice. All in all, an excellent read.
The Narration: Lloyd Sherr continues to be an excellent pick for Marty Singer. I like his voice for wise-ass Marty. He has distinctive voices for all the other characters, doing a very good job with the female character voices as well. He tossed in several regional accents which was great.