Welcome to a cat and mouse game that only bestselling novelist T. Jefferson Parker could script. A beautiful young woman is dead in the bathroom of her home. Her husband -- a promising young cop named Archie Wildcraft -- is shot in the head but still alive. It looks like an attempted murder/suicide, but something tells Detective Merci Rayborn that there's more to the story. When the suspect vanishes from his hospital bed, he draws Merci into a manhunt that leaves the entire department questioning her abilities and her judgment. Is Archie's flight the act of a ruined mind, or a faithful heart? Is his account of the night his wife was murdered half-formed memory, or careful manipulation? Merci and Wildcraft head for a collision in a dizzying succession of cryptic clues, terrifying secrets, and painful truths. This sharp new thriller will satisfy Parker fans across the country -- and leave first-time readers clamoring for more.
After 10 California noir cop thrillers, Parker may have finally settled on a series character to anchor at least a portion of his work: Merci Rayborn, a single mom consumed by her job as a homicide detective with the Orange County Sheriff's Department. The Blue Hour and Edgar-nominated Red Light both chronicled the professional fall from grace that left Rayborn a black sheep in the department, and she remains a fascinating (if somewhat distressing) character to watch. Without her colleagues' full cooperation, she plows into a thorny double shooting: a beautiful young woman, Gwen Wildcraft, is found dead in her lavish hillside home, while her husband, sheriff deputy Archie Wildcraft, lies in the garden with a bullet in his head. Archie manages to survive, but has little memory of what happened. Growing evidence, however, indicates that he murdered his wife, then failed at trying to kill himself. Despite the media clamoring for answers and political pressure mounting to arrest Archie, Rayborn's instinct tells her this was not a bungled murder/suicide. Instead, the case points her in other directions, toward an upstart biotech company, Russian mobsters and Archie's nearly impenetrable past. Parker takes great strides in unfurling Rayborn's life of quiet desperation and that of her immediate social circle her father, her partner on the force and her young son. Though lacking the kind of explosive finale that marks most of Parker's novels, this latest is a showcase for mood, setting and pace. $150,000 marketing campaign; national author tour. (Apr. 24) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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February 14, 2012
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