Saturday, May 22, 2010
"He took a hundred pounds of clay, and then, ...he created a woman." Gene McDaniel, lyrics
"Given the choice of groping after something in the dark or hoping to find it easily in the light, people pick the light ninety nine times out of a hundred."
Young, Mobile Alabama Police Detective Carson Ryder is the rare man who searches the dark places to find the necessary answers. He and his partner, Harry Nautilus are called to the scene when a headless body is discovered in a park in southwest Mobile.
Both Harry and Ryder are part of a newly formed Psycopathological Sociopathological Investigative Team, which goes by the acronym, PSIT and by a more colorful phrase by other cops.
Captain Terrence Squill is an ambitious autocrat. When he sees the body in the park, he dismisses it as a homosexual meeting that ended in murder.
A second, decapitated body is found and where Squill was highly skeptical about the unit, he is ordered to incorporate it in his investigation team. Resenting their presence, he does as little as possible to assist them.
There is an interesting subplot as Ryder goes out of his way to help another character who is an alcoholic. As Ryder attempts to assist her, the author does an excellent job in describing the horrors of that disease.
Another subplot concerned the childhood events that led to Ryder's brother Jeremy being incarcerated in a mental health facility. Jeremy takes an interest in Ryder's case and seems to have the ability to give Ryder insights into the killer's reasoning and identity. This was reminiscent of Thomas Harris' Hanibal Lecter, in "The Silence of the Lambs."
The narrative is packed with unpredictable action and the characters are different enough to be both interesting and appealing. Carson is compassionate and engaging lead character. The story is a great reading experience.