Detective Ed Comparetto has been assigned to investigate a series of murders, chosen because he is gay, just like the victims. The investigation is at a standstill, with no decent leads in sight when Ed is let go from the department for allegedly tampering with a witness report.
Timothy Bright. How could Ed have interviewed Timothy Bright when he had been brutally murdered two years prior? Now unemployed, Ed is unable to follow-up on “Timothy” who must either know more than he let on, or worse, is the killer. Ed is approached by Peter, a librarian, while checking out the newspaper reports of Timothy’s murder. The two end up going out one night and, after hours of conversation and a roll in the hay, Peter admits that a friend had a close call with a man who he thinks may have committed the murders.
Ed has no authority, and a potential witness who is in the closet and afraid to come out, even if it means saving lives. Ed finally realizes that the victims must be meeting the killer online, welcoming the killer into their homes, which explains the lack of forcible entry. One after another, men meet up with Timothy, none ever believing that they will be the next victim. Ed begins to uncover more clues, but will a disgraced former cop be taken seriously?
To start with, I must say that IM was a fast-paced, gruesome, and gory murder mystery that had me alternately glued to the page and having to set the book down every time a murder was committed. The overall product was good, enjoyable, even if I noted a number of discrepancies.
Part way through the book, we are provided with an inside view of the killer’s mind, his first sexual experience at age fourteen with a man 22 years his senior, and we are made privy to the killer’s thoughts and motivations as the story progresses. Also included as a part of the killer’s back story is the inclusion of some of Timothy’s aunt’s past and present. These chapters are carefully timed to provide hints as to why, how, and occasionally when events would unfold.
I found Ed’s character to be believable, the devoted cop, even after he is fired and then snubbed when trying to offer assistance. Ed’s tenacious personality may have seemed a bit two-dimensional, but upon further inspection, it was just an indication of his real depth. The killer, well, how to describe a brilliant psychopath who also demonstrated an unwavering focus on his goal? Well, I guess that worked… Anyway, the killer’s depth of character was also present, although more subtly done and at times I wondered “WTF?” because the killer’s actions defied description.
At the beginning, I mentioned a number of discrepancies, such as: Would a police service really fire a detective without involving them in the investigation? Chicago has a serial killer…where is the FBI? And Timothy’s death…Now these things may have caught my attention, but I don’t know anything more that what I have seen on television, and so perhaps the reality is not what I always believed.
I was once told that when reviewing a sci-fi story, less is more, and in the case of IM, less than that is more than enough. Heck, I can’t tell you anything without giving away all of the good stuff. IM is not a romance, although Ed does meet someone. IM is not for the faint hearted, especially if knives freak you out. If you like murder mysteries, twists and turns, and always wanted to read one that had a gay protagonist, this is a must read for you.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.