A brutal crime in the woods of southern Iowa has deadly repercussions years later in the state’s capital city, where a string of gruesome murders tests the considerable skills of Detective Edward “Red” Shaw.
Shaw had seen a lot of nasty business in his time with Des Moines PD, but the grisly slashing of an old man one night on the street was among the worst. The victim had been horribly mutilated, a crude crossword puzzle grid slashed into his skin along with an ominous, bloody clue.
Known as “Red” to a select few, Ed Shaw knew right away that the case was going to be like nothing he’d worked on before. It didn’t help that his longtime partner, Phil Vega, was on medical leave with a bum leg, that his ex-wife Sally had finally moved on, and that he’d gotten drunk just hours before being called to the first crime scene.
Shaw did his best to get along with the brash assistant county attorney who was assigned to the case, and he relied on the counsel and expertise of Dr. Paul “Penny” Penawalt despite the medical examiner’s smartass attitude.
Not above manipulating the media or co-opting a conflicted psychologist to get what he needs, Shaw makes his way through the puzzling twists and turns of “Blood Solutions” to the ultimate confrontation with a murderous sociopath.
About the Author
B.J. Smith writes fiction, essays, poetry and technical prose. As a daily newspaper reporter, he covered education, police and courthouse beats at various times. He also edited nationally syndicated opinion, health and home-repair columns, and proofread crossword puzzles (a task that inspired his first crime novel, by the way). A cyclist, hiker, University of Iowa grad, U.S. Navy veteran, former PR guy – and onetime soda jerk, busboy and dishwasher – he publishes a blog at https://smithcompound.blog. He and his wife, Susan, live in Longmont, Colorado. They enjoy bicycling, hiking and snowshoeing in the mountains.