The Murder Notebook
Morrow, Jun 2008, $24.95
NYPD forensic artist Nate Rodriguez is in demand. Bronx Lieutenant Bill Guthrie wants him to do a facial reconstruction of a skull with bullet holes that was also burned in a fire. Chief of Deportment Perry Denton wants his help on the case of a murdered student who turned hi back on the ghettand won a schiolarship at City University.
Nate interviews the dead student’s girlfriend who describes a man who picked a fight with her boyfriend for no apparent reason. The sketch evidently leads the police to the killer who ends up committing suicide. That should have proven the end of the case, but soon afterward another murder-suicide occurs with echoes of the most important elements of the first incident. Guthrie tells Rodriguez to drop the case of the skull, but the artist works on it anyway because he feels compelled to finish the job. More murder-suicide crimes occurred and Nate convinces his peers they are linked, but no one knows how; besides the FBI takes charge. Nate risks his career with the help of police officer Terri Russo to solve the case, but soon realizes its their lives on the line from a DARPA conspiracy to conceal the truth.
The link the cases have in common is horrific and chilling because it is believable. THE MURDER NOTEBOOK is an extraordinary police procedural as the protagonist on a quest for justice and follows the clues one step at a time with his keen artistic eye which is how they finally saw the links. It is a struggle for the police (not Nate) as clues are not linear and it takes intuition to skip the logical sequence. Jonathan Santlofer provides an enjoyable investigative tale.