Any fan of Parker's previous work will queue up to read about a serial killer in Orange County who wipes out entire families. Russ Monroe, ex-cop turned writer, wants to know why the police are so secretive and why they have obliterated all evidence of his ex-lover's murder.
Timeworn thriller conventions are skillfully recycled in this suspenseful tale of serial murder and misdirection in California's Orange County. When reporter/crime writer Russell Monroe finds his former lover brutally slain in an apparently ritual style, he suspects a connection to other recent murders in the county. Somehow, the case never appears on the police blotter--although Russell saw his former colleague, homicide chief Marty Parish, leaving the scene of the crime--and soon all evidence of the death disappears. Meanwhile, a string of killings continues in the same gruesome style, and Russell becomes the contact of the deranged man responsible. As the writer gets dangerously entangled in this deadly intrigue, his wife Isabella fights a terminal brain tumor. While this material may sound hopelessly hackneyed, Parker ( Laguna Heat ; Pacific Beat ) delivers it in a surehanded narrative notable for taut pacing and plot twists that keep the reader wondering whom to trust. Russell's desperate first-person narrative voice is convincing and often gripping. 100,000 first printing; major ad/promo. (July)