The newest entry in the Detective Jackson series opens in the early morning hours on Friday, November 21st, the week before Thanksgiving, with the weather unseasonably cold and intermittent snow falling in Eugene, Oregon, and moves swiftly by its end to Thanksgiving eve. The pages in between that brief time span are filled with a police investigation of not one, but several deaths and other assorted crimes, including sexual assault and blackmail. The first sentence of the book is undeniably eye-catching: “Your daughter is a whore.” This is a text message received by the mother of a young girl, to which is attached a video displaying an assault on their apparently unconscious daughter, together with a blackmail threat.
The scene soon changes to a homeless camp in town, where Police Officer Danny Thompson is doing what he does annually as the temperatures drop: giving out donated jackets, blankets and other items donated throughout the year to the town’s growing homeless population, which the most recent survey had put at nearly 1,800. Shockingly, very shortly afterwards Officer Thompson is stabbed to death. The case is assigned to Detective Wade Jackson of the Violent Crimes unit. He is unable to work the case with his partner of 13 years, Rob Schakowski [“Schak” to all], as the latter was the dead police officer’s cousin, as close as if they were brothers. Things get more complicated when the body of an apparently homeless man is found in the area, an apparent suicide, and the first assumption is that he is the killer. Schak soon has his own investigation under way when the body of a girl who has committed suicide is discovered in her bedroom by her parents; she is the young woman whose parents were being blackmailed by the pervert who had e-mailed the sex video. The tension builds as the sexual assaults seem to be escalating.
The other cops in the unit who readers know from past series entries are here as well, Jackson’s mentee, Lara Evans; Michael Quince; and their boss, Sgt. Denise Lammers, as well as Sophie Speranza, a reporter on the local newspaper, now in fear of losing her job in that economically-threatened industry. The two investigations are the main story lines of this suspenseful, page-turning novel, although the always interesting private lives of Jackson and Schak, Sophie and Lara, are on full display here as well. A terrific addition to the series, with a shocking resolution, the novel is recommended....Continua