The Deepest Cut
Ballantine, Feb 2009, $24.00
In Pasadena, California, Police Detective Jim Kissick heads the investigation into the murder of former gangbanger Abel “Scrappy” Espinoza inside a facility owned by first generation Chinese-American Mrs. Zhang. Assisting him on the inquiry is his lover, Nan Vining, a single mom of fourteen year old Emily. On a valuable mural, the culprit paints China Dog 187. Whereas Nan believes the killer is T.B, Mann as she calls the Bad Man who almost killed her (see THE FIRST CUT), Jim assumes it is gang warfare.
Their boss Sergeant Early reassigns Jim to follow up on the near deadly assault of Nan as new clues have surfaced; Nan will work the Sparky homicide as the lead. Nan informs Jim how she broke the law to learn more about her attacker and her theory he is a female police serial killer; he scoffs at her belief. As T.B. Mann continues to operate under the radar screen, the sole connection remains a deranged artist Nitro who vanished. Soon Mann will attempt to complete the killing of the only one to survive with her daughter as the lure.
Although it seems obvious that Nan is obsessed with capturing TBM and would fail a psychological screening unless she was Oscar level performer, readers will enjoy this entertaining California police procedural that goes down two paths before converging. The story line is filled with action even when the lead couple stops for lunch to talk about the cases or when the ghostly elements limited to not much more than a butterfly alit on Nan’s shoulder. Fans will enjoy this fine sequel that stands alone as an exhilarating investigative thriller.