The first murder seemed senseless. The second death a tragic accident. And the killer...a total mystery to Chief of Police James Morgan. Chief Morgan’s job had been, up to now, a cinchhis principal occupation being to sexually service the dissatisfied wives of the town’s wealthiest citizens.
The troubled town is Bensington, a bedroom suburb of Boston, where respectable natives live in old Victorians, rich newcomers in mock mansions, and the poor in wood-heaped frame houses. Just beneath Bensington’s sedate surface are some very off-centered residents whose quirky cravings and guilts tend to be overlooked, or neatly concealed. Then a brutal double murder blows everyone’s deep, dark secrets into the open air, and for once rich and poor alike are caught up in the same net of passion and violence.
James Morgan, Bensington born and bred, is a lean and handsome widower whose love for his dead wife spurs an unending series of sexual conquests, and whose warm compassion wars with the icy imperatives of his profession. Although he is expected to solve the mysterious murders and put the town back together, local coffee-shop critics question his competence, even as they relish the rumors of his trysts. The women who sleep with Morganfor reasons ranging from boredom to desperate lonelinessare included in his investigation, as is a rich man on the brink of ruin, and a policeman nursing a hidden hate, and a degenerate family consisting of a brutal father and two very different sonsone retarded, the other frighteningly gifted. And complicating it all is Morgan’s newest conquest, the daughter of the victims, who herself may be a target.
Filled with insight and irony, this electrifying thriller blends roller-coaster action with the sensitive probing of men and women driven by private demons of love and hate, need and desire. Edgar nominee Andrew Coburn masterfully splices psychological suspense with police procedure as he turns his keen eye on small-town America and the secrets it keeps.