The Ancient Rain
St. Martin’s, Apr 2008, $24.95
San Francisco Private Investigator Bill Owens asks his colleague Dante Mancuso of Cicero Investigations for a favor; keep his two frightened children, fourteen years old Kate and ten years old Zeke safe while he is charged with murder; his wife attorney Jill is in Chicago. Twenty-seven years ago, Bill was part of a radical group, the Symbonise Liberation Army that killed Eleanor Younger while robbing a bank. Eleanor had left her eleven years old daughter Elise in the car and so she witnessed the murder of her mom. She accuses Bill Owens who came out without a mask of her mom’s murder.
The Feds go all out to nail Bill while his backers hire Dante to investigate. As he makes inquires to a homicide that occurred thirty years ago and is colder than the tundra except for the eye witness; Dante begins to close in on the puppeteer who manipulated what happened then and what is happening now.
The third Mancuso private investigative tale (see BIG BOOM and CHASING THE DRAGON) is a superb urban noir that uses history to include the Symbonise Liberation Army of Patty Heart fame and much more like the title coming from a poem by Bob Kaufman. Bill pegs Dante as the perfect person to protect his kids as he knows that the mane never let’s anything go; and he proves totally right especially with a late twist. From the moment that Bill is stopped on the bay Bridge with the cops ignoring his two kids sitting in the back seat in stark terror as they are inconsequential to the arrest until the climatic end, fans will read this strong suspenseful tale in one shocking sitting.