Businessman turned author Rohlfing delivers a pulse-pounding police procedural mystery in the second of his Detective Sasha Frank mystery series, a prequel to Deliberate Duplicity. When Ashley Cummins, the daughter of a prominent local businessman and the granddaughter of a judge, is murdered, Bloomington, Illinois, Detective Sasha Frank and his partner, Darcie Lyman, catch the case—along with a heap of pressure to solve it quickly. After they discover a past sports injury led Ashley to become addicted to opioids, Sasha and Darcie start grilling local drug dealers—but those dealers begin to be murdered in increasingly gruesome fashion, forcing Sasha and Darcie to get to their suspects before a vigilante does.
The scourge of opioid addiction is pulled straight from the headlines, and procedural readers will be drawn to Rohlfing’s pitch-perfect characters, especially the driven veteran Sasha and younger detective Darcie, who questions everyone and everything. Among the supporting cast, Ashley’s grieving father will draw massive sympathy, and Rohlfing manages to make at least one drug dealer—Danny, who has a young daughter—sympathetic enough that his murder will resonate. Another related death will prove that what seems to be straightforward often isn’t, as eagle-eyed readers will discover via a few tiny clues.
Rohlfing easily draws readers into his small-town Midwestern world of bars, opioids, small-time gangs, and well-observed class divisions, and he has clearly done his research on the intricacies of law enforcement (although descriptions of various victim autopsies aren’t for the faint of heart.) In addition, his able plotting ratchets up the tension chapter by chapter, especially when two innocents are killed, and will keep readers questioning until the clever end of the story, when they learn what—and who—all the murders have in common. Any armchair detective will enjoy solving these tantalizing mysteries alongside Rohlfing’s dogged detectives and look forward to the next book in the series
Takeaway: An enthralling, heart-pounding police procedural that will keep readers guessing from start to finish.
Great for fans of: Michael Connelly’s The Law of Innocence, Jeff Carson’s Alive and Killing, Josh Griffith’s This Lonely Town.
Production grades Cover: A Design and typography: A Illustrations: N/A Editing: A Marketing copy: A