Detective Paul Czarcik is a member of the Illinois Bureau of Judicial Enforcement and pretty much does what he wants. A gruff, at times difficult individual, lacking many social graces, he dislikes most people, enjoys his alcohol and a line of cocaine every now and then, and he prefers to work alone. He frequently assists the Chicago PD with difficult cases and receives such a call at the start of this novel.
Upon arriving to the scene, he finds a deceased young woman who shows evidence of being beaten by a variety of different items, all which we left at the scene. Strangely enough, there is a dead chicken tied to her neck. Her husband is found dead in the next room, covered in cigarette burns and with his head missing. As Paul studies the scene, he’s certain the scene is staged, but something just doesn’t feel right. A quick input of data into the national crime database yields a link to another gruesome crime scene in Texas, the link being the knot that was used in both cases. In attempts to draw attention to the current case, the Chicago PD disguise one of their own and claim to have a suspect in custody.
Meanwhile, Daniel Langdon is sitting in a hotel room trying to determine the best way to dispose of the head that he has sitting behind him on the bed. Recently diagnosed with a glioblastoma – a brain tumor – he is trying to ward off a blinding headache and is ruminating about the changes that the tumor has wrought on his body, along with the to-be-expected behavioral changes. He has decided that he is not going to give in to his disease easily, and instead, he has some work to do while he still is able – seemingly avenging those who have suffered at the hands of others. As he’s watching the news, he learns of the lead Detective’s identity – and feels compelled to pay him a visit…thus beginning a game of hunter and hunted, good versus evil, etc. But is it really as simple as that???
This book was a great read! It’s not often that I find a book where I don’t particularly care for the ‘good guy’, but the dive into the psyches of the protagonist and antagonist made for a fast -paced story as Paul tries to get his man. Increasing the complexity even more was the unlikely character that randomly (or was it?) enters the picture with just the perfect evidence to assist Paul in his hunt. A fabulous mystery/police procedural full of gritty crime scenes, a nerve-wracking chase, and an ending that’ll have you scratching your head, and wondering what exactly the next scene would have been had the book not ended there…
I look forward to more – much more – from Mr. Holgate!!
Available March 10th!