A family brutally slaughtered. A daughter disappeared into thin air…
Still recovering from the murder attempt that nearly took her life, tough-as-nails New York homicide detective Jasmine Steele is slowly coming to grips with a world that’s seemingly gone mad. She has every reason to fear death: her parents are both long gone, and she watched her brother bleed out following a drunk driving accident that left his wife dead and his son an orphan. Now Chase lives with his Aunt Jasmine–Jazz for short–and life was readjusting for them both until a serial killer gunning for Jazz almost resulted in the murders of both Chase and Jazz’s longtime actress friend Hadley. And there are still loose ends she’s desperate to tie up…
Jazz’s bleary obsession with her past is interrupted when she’s assigned to a horrifying case: the entire Johnson family’s been viciously murdered. Hard-boiled alert: author Kimberly Amato pulls no punches. The mother’s throat was slit while trying to call for help and the father was shot in the chest, then gruesomely sliced up while still alive, like a scene from a horror film. Also found, the body of their young son, about Chase’s age, left in the closet with a snapped neck. When ever-adept Jazz finds a business card in the father’s wallet reading “Garrison Developments,” she’s suddenly on high alert. This is a link to her horrendous losses.
But it’s the remaining clues to a missing fourth victim–a teenage daughter named Kaley–that leave her reeling.
Kaley’s seemingly disappeared without a trace. But something about the crime scene just doesn’t seem right… Looking to psychologist Frankie for help (her own life partner and Kaley’s child psychologist), Jazz discovers that the Johnson family had plenty of disturbing skeletons in its closet. Skeletons possibly warranting hiring a hit man on the Internet. And then there’s that business card. And that photo of, the Garrison clan patriarch shaking hands with the principal of Kaley’s private school–a school that couldn’t seem to care less whether Kaley is dead or alive.
With the help of trusted coroner and best pal Victor, as well as her new partner, Detective Will Everts (a father of daughters who’s about to learn more about the teenage girl psyche than he’d like to), ever-fearless Jazz jumps head-first into the opaque abyss of corrupt New York finance and down the dangerous and secretive rabbit hole of the Deep Web. Can she manage to trace a cold-blooded killer, using only the most untraceable technology known to man?
This one’s for fans of hard-boiled police procedurals, lesbian mysteries, and badass female sleuths. Definitely not for the squeamish! But those who can’t get enough of the exciting new wave of hard-boiled women sleuths, created by writers like Megan Abbott, Laura Lippmann, Lisa Lutz, and Vicki Hendricks will be attracted to the author’s take-no-prisoners style, and her unflinching attention to harrowing detail.
Yet lovers of traditional mysteries will appreciate the web of fierce loyalty tempered with fearful caution that links Jazz’s tiny but hardy support system—Victor, Frankie, Will, and their actress friend Hadley, not to mention Chase himself. Somehow or other, Amato manages to mix all the excitement of an action thriller with the swirling emotions of a mainstream psychological novel.