• by

Detective Barnes is up from San Francisco in Washington State trying to get over two traumas: her grisly victory over the Tower Torturer, described in Sutro’s previous book, Dark Associations(2017), and her lifelong hatred of her mother. But when the body of a horribly tortured Malaysian girl is found, Kate, along with Sheriff Tony Luchasetti, is irrevocably drawn in. Soon the local coroner and the FBI are also involved, and it’s clear that this sex trafficking outfit has sordid tentacles all over the place, including in the top echelons of corporate power. The obvious perp is killed but inadvertently leaves a video clue and a mysterious bracelet. While trying to solve a tough, twisty case, Kate is almost killed working undercover and forced off the road into a lake. She also suffers indignities while taking tentative steps to reconcile with her mother and falls half in love with Sheriff Tony. The case climaxes in an underground lair and Kate’s fighting for her life after being hunted through the forest for sport. Sutro is an accomplished, talented writer; here’s her rendering of one baddie in a snit: “His shoulders rose and fell with the hallmark insouciance of a teenager.” She is very good at creating hateable villains, and when they wind up dead, the reader has permission to cheer. The demise of one particular criminal is a surprise and, perhaps, a stretch, but by then, we are totally keyed up and ready to revel in anything. There is also a wealth of police procedure detail and medical detail from the coroner, all of which really puts the reader in the scene. We truly live this adventure along with the redoubtable (and indestructible) Kate Barnes, who will surely be back.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.