Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Little Death-P.J. Parrish

The Little Death
P.J. Parrish
Pocket, Feb 16 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9781416525899

In Devil’s Garden on the Archer Ranch, cowboys find the body of a man in approximately the same place that the corpse of the owner’s son was found twenty-eight years ago. The police identify the dead person as Mark Durand, lover of Reggie Kent of Palm Beach. Reggie is a walker who escorts wealthy women to events that their husbands do not want to attend. The work enables him to enter the upper crust of society without spending any of his money and excludes sex.

Police detective Roy Barbary believes Reggie killed Mark during a lover’s quarrel and in a further fit if rage decapitated the victim. Private investigator Louis Kincaid with his friend former cop Mel Landeta, who is going blind, arrive to help the latter’s pal Reggie clear his name. As they investigate, they discover two more similar homicides spread out over the years with the decapitated bodies found at that same spot. The men have in common being studly handsome in physique and looks and financially needy. Louis believes if the killer(s) is not stopped soonest, a fourth murder will occur, but the answers are concealed inside the close knit elite of Palm Beach society; a place where a dick and an ex cop will never gain entrance.

P.J. Parrish always provides a strong tale starring a special hero who is black working in white Palm Beach without regard to the rage of the affluent locals that a working class African-American dare question any of them; three strikes and he still swings the bat. Filled with plenty of action but clearly character driven, The Little Death is a top notch whodunit.

Harriet Klausner