Death on Demand

Paul Thomas. Bitter Lemon, $14.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-908524-17-1
Ned Kelly Award–winner Thomas takes his time letting readers in on what he’s got up his sleeve in his fourth police procedural starring Maori Det. Sgt. Tito Ihaka (after 1996’s Guerilla Season), but the deferred gratification is well worth it. A prologue opens 14 years in the past in Greytown, New Zealand. Eight years later, four male friends, a property developer, a lawyer, a dentist, and a businessman, are enjoying a regular weekend away together on Waiheke Island. A discussion of marital discontent ends with a joke about using the phone directory to call a hit man. Three months later, Joyce, presumably the wife of one of the four pals, is fatally struck by a car while jogging in an Auckland suburb. More people die, one way or another, as the action moves to the present. Ihaka, who must deal with prejudice from within the force, investigates. A twisty plot and an unusual lead combine to make this a winner, and even newcomers will hope that the wait for the next installment will be less than 17 years. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/26/2013
Release date: 10/01/2013
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