Simon & Schuster, Jul 2008, $25.95
The forest fire remains out of control so police are evacuating homes in the blaze’s path in Laurel Canyon. In one of the houses the cops find the corpse of Lionel Byrd; he apparently committed suicide.
When Los Angeles private investigator Elvis Cole learns of the death, he is stunned and filled with remorse. Three years earlier, Byrd was accused of a homicide; working for the defense, Cole found proof that his client was innocent; the charges were dropped. However, recently new evidence has been found that strongly implies Byrd committed that murder, four known others before being caught and at least two more since Cole found the prof that freed him. Wracked by guilt for those who died perhaps by his actions, Cole investigates determined to learn whether he was duped, erred, or was right three years ago.
Returning to Cole after his partner Joe Pike starred in THE WATCHMAN, fans of the series will see a different hero as he is obstinately determined to learn the truth; thus there are less amusing asides than usual and few scenes with friends; the plot fits the tone of his demeanor, as Cole suffers from crippling guilt. The story line is fast-paced from the onset, filled with plenty of action, and plausible but powerful twists and red herrings. CHASING DARKNESS is a strong tale as a more introspective Cole than ever before battles personal demons.