”There was nothing he could do about it now. He needed to put her out of his mind. But that was part of the problem too. He kept thinking about her at odd moments. He had killed four women in his life, but she was the only one he regretted. Part of him wished she was still alive, because she was an innocent girl who had died because she’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time. And part of him wished she was still alive so he could kill her again.
You could say it all started with The Night of the Condom Wrapper, but this story like most stories has peeled many layers off the onion before we are ever brought into the frame. With certainty, we can determine, that this was the night it all began for David Malone (AKA David Loogan from Bad Things Happen). He picks up his girlfriend’s work scrubs and a ripped condom wrapper flutters to the ground.
I do have to give Sophie credit there are no denials, no ridiculous stories trying to explain away the evidence, or an insulting and ludicrous attempt to somehow blame the other person forTHEIR infidelity. She takes responsibility for a moment of weakness.
David Malone, understandingly upset, seething with indignation, and with a stomach churning with more than a dollop of self-pity goes for a drive. He stops to help a young woman who has just hit a deer with her car. The animal is thought to be dead, but in a moment reminiscent of the movie Starman the deer comes back to life and runs off to rut, spawn fawns, and eventually, most likely, join the cycle of life as dinner for some other creature.
He has met Jana Fletcher and after three days, three days that he doesn’t go home, he believes he has fallen in love.
She is brutally murdered.
David Malone is suspect numero uno.
David inspects houses for a living and because he works for himself he can set his own schedule. He has time to get himself in all kinds of trouble. He begins to poke around, talk to people, which puts him direct conflict with the lead investigative police detective, Frank Moretti. Things aren’t all that they seem with Moretti.
”You could tell me the truth,” I said.
“I’ve tried that. I’ve tried patience. I’ve given you more of my time than you deserve. So what will it take? Violence? Do I have to break something to get your attention?”
The tone was calm and his eyes had their usual tired look, but I caught a hint of something harder underneath, something he had to work to keep under control.”
That illusion to violence does prove to be necessary as David branches out his investigation to include Moretti. The more strings David pulls the less anything makes any sense. Jana was helping a lawyer investigate wrongly convicted incarcerated people and the last case she was working on involved a Gary Dean Pruett who was convicted for killing his wife. Neil Pruett, Gary’s little brother, is somehow caught up with Luke Daw and his cousin Eli. The cousins are shady guys that a high school teacher shouldn’t know and certainly shouldn’t be doing business with, but then high school teachers are generally good customers for pot.
So K killed Jana, and I can tell you that because no one has a clue who K is, including David.
So we have an unknown killer?
We can’t figure out why Jana was killed?
We think we know how the Daw cousins fit into the picture and we are WRONG.
We think Moretti is dirty, but we don’t know if it has anything to do with the investigation of Jana Fletcher’s murder.
As more bodies turn up it just adds more loose pieces.
Harry Dolan deftly, patiently, like a bonsai tree philosopher tells this tale of murder, sprinkling out more clues to us than what poor David knows from his investigation, but even with more information this reader was just as stumped as David. The killerK, frustratingly, is always a step ahead of me. Jana’s secrets areoh so much bigger than even my most outrageous speculation could have conjured. When it all comes together, the final reveal, I felt compelled to give Mr. Dolan some gloved, elegant applause for handling this tale of brutality with such tasteful style.