cover image The Night Remembers

The Night Remembers

Edward Gorman. St. Martin's Press, $16.95 (228pp) ISBN 978-0-312-05482-3

Character and a sense of place are the strengths of this taut who-really-dunit by Gorman ( A Cry of Shadows ). Soft-hearted, sentimental private-eye Jack Walsh, 64, formerly a sheriff's detective, is called in to help clear the name of ex-con George Pennyfeather--whom Walsh had helped to convict of murdering his wife's purported lover 12 years ago. Walsh still believes George guilty but takes the case when an unidentified woman is found murdered in the Pennyfeather gazebo. Starting with credit-bureau records, Walsh unravels a web of vengeance, blackmail and madness punctuated by three additional murders. Also weighing on his mind is how to help Faith, the lover who helped him get over his grief when his wife died, and who has just discovered she may have cancer. It all takes place in Walsh (and Gorman's) hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which is viewed with a mixture of love and exasperation. The town to which boys and girls once flocked in farm wagons has become an international business and financial hub crowded with high-rises, BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes, and yuppies of both sexes, but it has lost some of its soul. Jack Walsh, however, retains all of his. (Mar.)