|Author:||T. Jefferson Parker|
It’s two years after the death of Tim Hess, her partner and the father of her child, and Merci is working hard to hold it all together. She and her son are living with her father. She’s also dating Mike McNally, a respected fellow officer. Merci and Mike are the golden couple on the force, and even if Merci doesn’t passionately love him, there’s a sort of comfortable inevitability to it all.
But everything explodes when a young prostitute is found brutally murdered and Mike emerges as the primary suspect. The lead investigator on the case, Merci must do the unthinkable—expose and arrest her lover. Sifting through the clues with a growing sense of panic and outrage in her gut, Merci has to work hard to balance where the truth is leading her against where her heart is telling her to go. Meanwhile, an old unsolved case from the sixties is thrown on her desk—the murder of Patti Bailey, another prostitute with ties to the force—and the two cases conspire to turn Merci’s world upside down.
Parker’s many fans met Merci Rayborn, the Orange County homicide investigator, in The Blue Hour, and will be happy to renew their acquaintance with her in Red Light. Although she’s still mourning the death of her former partner Tim Hess, who fathered her 2-year-old son, her relationship with fellow cop Mike McNally is progressing nicely, and so is her career on the force. Then two murders, decades apart, come together in a way that shakes Merci’s world both personally and professionally; two beautiful young prostitutes are both killed for what they knew and what they threatened to tell. Who’s covering up the corruption in the department that led to the first murder? And was Merci’s lover responsible for the second? Someone’s sending Merci evidence that disappeared from the police locker years ago; did that same person frame Mike too?
Merci doesn’t want to believe McNally’s involved, but everything points to him. When she’s forced to arrest him, everything she believes in comes in for a painful reexamination. And when her efforts to solve both killings lead inexorably back to where they started—to the department itself—she faces the most difficult challenge of all.
Parker is a masterful writer, with a sure command of the idiom, a fine sense of pacing, and more emotional depth than many of his colleagues. Fans will applaud this outing, and new readers will seek out his extensive backlist. —Jane Adams