cover image City of Secrets

City of Secrets

Kelli Stanley. Minotaur, $24.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-60361-8

PI Miranda Corbie searches for the killer of two young women, both stabbed to death with an ice pick, both with an ethnic slur written in blood on their bodies, in Stanley's bleak, noirish sequel to City of Dragons (2010). Working for the lawyer of the accused murderer, a corrupt cop who's apparently been set up, Miranda follows clues through the San Francisco of 1940, a city that seethes with racial hatred, is riddled by police corruption, and vigorously hosts an unsavory night life. Headlines from the war in Europe sound a recurrent note of impending doom. The deeply cynical Miranda, scarred by early abuse and a lover's death, is in danger of spinning out of control as she fights her own neuroses and addictions. In best pulp fiction style, suspects lounge about with slick hair and cheap suits, blondes are chain-smoking broads, and the nightclubs are smoky and languid. (Sept.)