This book is the third in a series featuring New Jersey Homicide Detective Doug Brock. I hadn’t read the previous two books but it didn’t matter. It was as if I were reading another of Rosenfelt’s Andy Carpenter series (of which I have read quite a few) with the names changed around.
The main characters were different people but acted the same. Doug, his girlfriend Jessie, and Doug’s partner Nate Alvarez were virtual clones of Andy, his girlfriend Laurie, and Laurie and Andy’s partner Marcus Clark. Doug and Jessie even have a dog, Bobo (“a Newfoundland/tractor-trailer mix”) analogous to Tara, the golden retriever in the Andy Carpenter series. These commonalities were somewhat disconcerting since Andy and his friends make cameo appearances in this series. I didn’t care, however; the author is delightful, and his dialogue always makes me laugh out loud.
Doug was shot in the line of duty and now has retrograde amnesia. It interferes with his detective work, especially since a case just came up bearing a resemblance, he is told, to one he dealt with but didn’t solve eighteen months before. A sharpshooter is killing people seemingly at random, and Doug gets anonymous notes promising that the victims will total ninety-nine. Doug can’t remember the previous case or why none of the suspects panned out. Thus what he fears most is that he let the guilty party go free, and now that person is killing again, which would make the new deaths Doug’s fault (in his estimation).
Doug closes in on the most likely perpetrator with the help of his girlfriend Jessie, his partner Nate, other police, and even the FBI. The key was finding the connection between the victims – not at all evident at first – and also working through three common motives for murder: sex, power, and money. They hoped to find and stop the killer before more lives were lost, but their progress was faster than they thought it would be. It seemed like the killer was doing most of the work solving the case for them – something wasn’t quite right.
Evaluation: This book (which can be read as a standalone) is clever and humorous. It’s just the thing if you’re looking for a lighter crime novel.
Published by Minotaur Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Publishing Group, a part of Macmillan Publishers, 2019