cover image EAST OF THE ARCH: A Joe Keough Mystery

EAST OF THE ARCH: A Joe Keough Mystery

Robert J. Randisi, . . St. Martin's Minotaur, $24.95 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-312-28398-8

In his fourth action-packed outing (after 2000's Blood on the Arch), St. Louis cop Joe Keough finds himself embattled on all sides. Just as he's about to chuck his job, Joe is assigned to the East St. Louis PD to assist in investigating an especially nasty serial killer, a blood-curdling creep who preys on pregnant women. Unaware that he has become a pawn in one of the mayor's political games, Joe faces the hostility of the local police, who resent his "interference." In addition, two old nemeses, Angela Mason and Jack Gail of Internal Affairs, are willing to do absolutely anything to destroy his career. Then he gets sidetracked looking into a wife/child beater. As Noel Coward said, "No good deed goes unpunished." No sooner has Joe put the lid on the abuser than the guy is found murdered, leaving Joe the chief suspect. Much of this distracts from the more compelling hunt for the serial killer, and eventually Randisi gets back to business. Keough is no cliché cop, but an engaging character with a welcome streak of compassion. His partner, Det. Marc Jeter, a young officer with a fondness for quoting Mark Twain, makes a splendid addition to the cast, and one hopes he will return. Randisi's well-paced procedural keeps the reader asking what happens next right up to the logical and effective finale. (Oct. 14)

FYI:Randisi's most recent novel, coauthored with Christine Matthews, is The Masks of Auntie Laveau, the second mystery featuring Gil and Claire Hunt (Forecasts, Dec. 3, 2001). Randisi also writes the Nick Delvecchio and Miles Jacoby series.