Monday, December 23, 2013

A Twisted Set of Cases for Detective Sergeant Mulheisen

As a practical matter, this novel, which was first published in 1990, constitutes a stand-alone in Jon A. Jackson's series featuring Detective Sergeant "Fang" Mulheisen of the Detroit P.D. It does not involve either the Detroit mob or the character Joe Service, both of whom appear prominently in most of the other books. It doesn't build on the earlier stories, and nothing that happens here is essential to the books going forward.

Which is certainly not to say that it isn't a good book. The plot is fairly convoluted and involves a long-retired detective named Grootka, who was once Mulheisen's mentor. For most of his adult life, Grootka has been haunted by his failure to solve the rape and murder of a beautiful young girl back in the 1950s. Then, one afternoon when he's riding along with an old pal who tags abandoned vehicles for the department, Grootka discovers the body of and elderly pimp named "Books" Meldrin, who was also Grootka's snitch back in the day.

Poor old "Books" has met a sad end, shot and stuffed into the trunk of an abandoned car. The killing is added to Mulheisen's already bulging caseload, and Grootka is convinced that the killing is somehow related to the death of the girl years earlier.

Mulheisen's boss couldn't care less about the murder of an elderly pimp and wants him to focus on the much higher profile case of the murder of a society matron. But Mul is intrigued by the "Books" case and is soon devoting the bulk of his time to it.

Once the game is on, it's interesting and more than a little dangerous. Mulheisen demonstrates his usual disregard for authority and pursues the job in his own inimitable way. Pretty soon, more bodies are dropping; the evidence is twisted almost beyond imagination and there are startling surprises at almost every turn. This one is well worth looking for.

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