cover image Slipping into Darkness

Slipping into Darkness

Peter Blauner, . . Little, Brown, $24.95 (386pp) ISBN 978-0-316-09866-3

After sifting through the secrets of suburban life in The Last Good Day , Blauner returns with a serpentine thriller about a decades-old murder case is reopened when the killer is released from prison. Twenty years earlier, Homicide Det. Francis X. Loughlin put the grisly murder of young doctor Allison Wallis to rest with the confession of teenage Julian Vega, but now Vega has been released on a legal technicality. Vega wanders the streets of Manhattan searching for signs of his former life, and though his old and new contacts won't give him benefit of the doubt, tough litigator Debbie Aaron believes in his innocence. When the body of a female doctor is found stabbed to death in the same manner as the original case, the investigation becomes increasingly complex. DNA evidence not only confirms Vega's innocence in the current death but calls into question the nature of the original murder. Already challenged by this tough case, Loughlin struggles with a debilitating eye disease that's robbing him of his sight. Though the low-key conclusion unfurls with little fanfare, Blauner excels with the sharp characterization and surefooted plotting that fans have come to expect. (Jan.)