Thirty years ago, the butchered body of a local Papago girl was found stuffed into a large cooler on the side of Highway 86. No one was ever charged for the crime. Few even cared.
And no one suspected it was just the beginning.
Retired Pima County Sheriff Brandon Walker's work with The Last Chancean exclusive, nationwide fraternity of former lawmen investigating unsolved homicideshas brought new purpose to his life. But a gruesome, three-decades-old cold case is leading him into a strange world at the unlikely border between forensic science and tribal mysticisma place where evil hides behind a perfect faÇade. A long-forgotten murder in the Arizona desert now threatens to bring home a new horror for Walker and his family, who have already survived the dark hunger of two human monsters. And suddenly the relentless ex-cop is the only person who can still unravel a blood knot of terror and obsession before the innocent die again.
Jance's third suspense thriller to feature ex-sheriff Brandon Walker and his family (after Hour of the Hunter and Kiss of the Bees) deftly mixes Native American mythology with a harrowing plot. An old Tohono O'odham woman, Emma Orozco, asks Walker for help in solving the brutal murder of her daughter, Roseanne, who was slain in 1970. Walker is able to take on the challenge because of his membership in TLC, The Last Chance, a privately funded agency that looks into old, unsolved crimes. This ingenious arrangement allows for great flexibility in the action of the story. As Walker searches for clues in Roseanne's death, he comes across similar murders each with no leads, each involving a dismembered body left alongside a road in the Southwest. The reader learns more and more about the killers, the sexually voracious, utterly amoral Gayle Stryker and her husband, Larry, a truly effective pair of monsters. Meanwhile, Walker's dear friend Fat Crack Ortiz, a Tohono O'odham man, is dying of complications from diabetes. Most of Walker's friends, in fact, are Indians, as is his adopted daughter, Lani. He draws not so much knowledge as strength and perspective from them no mumbo-jumbo here, only believable sensitivity. Agent, Alice Volpe. (One-day laydown July 20) Forecast: Backed by a 15-city author tour concentrated in the Southwest, this one should hit national bestseller lists. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.