This book is the second in a series featuring New Jersey Homicide Detective Doug Brock. I was initiated into the series by the third installment, Black and Blue, but going backwards in the series didn’t make any difference in my ability to enjoy the book. (It might have, however, if I had a better memory, but – in this case, at least – my inability to retain the plots of so many books worked out fine.)
Alas, memory is Doug’s problem too. Doug was shot in the line of duty and now has retrograde amnesia. It interferes with his detective work, especially since new wrinkles keep coming up that relate to cases he apparently worked on before, but of course doesn’t recall.
Sean Connor, a member of Doug’s amnesia recovery group, asks to see Doug in private and reveals that he thinks that, before his amnesia, he might have had something to do with the kidnapping or killing of a missing woman, Rita Carlisle. Doug had been the one who put Rita’s boyfriend in jail for her presumed murder. Was he wrong? Just after he begins investigating, Sean’s severed head is discovered in a park. Now it becomes clear to Doug, his partner Nate Alvarez, and Doug’s girlfriend Jessie who is also on the force, that something bigger is going on.
Clues soon lead the police to suspect the possible involvement of mobsters in both New Jersey and Las Vegas, and the hunt heats up as the bodies – or rather heads, pile up.
Evaluation: Readers of this series will notice a similarity to Rosenfelt’s Andy Carpenter series. The main characters are different people but bear striking resemblances to one another. Doug, his girlfriend Jessie, and Doug’s partner Nate Alvarez are 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. This also was not a problem for me. The elements of similarity are what make both series delightful. The books are just the thing if you’re looking for lighter crime novels with plenty of humor.
Published by Minotaur Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Publishing Group, a part of Macmillan Publishers, 2018