Coleman draws inspiration from the real-life Gary Condit/Chandra Levy case for his appealing third hard-boiled mystery set in the early 1980s (after 2004's Redemption Street
). New York PI Moe Prager and his wife, still traumatized by a recent miscarriage, are surprised to be guests at a high society wedding. The affair proves to be a pretext for a mover and shaker to recruit Prager to the cause of a charismatic state senator, Steven Brightman, whose political rise was stalled by the disappearance of an attractive young intern more than a year earlier. Despite the cold trail, thoroughly explored by both the police and Brightman's hired sleuths, Prager finds new clues that lead him to a surprise solution. Given this revelation relatively early on, few readers will be startled that a different truth emerges before the refreshingly ambiguous conclusion, with justice at best partially served. Not everyone will go for the heavy-handed humor (a long-winded "southern politico" named Clinton "had better stay in Arkansas, because he has about as much chance for national office as the Mets have of winning a second World Series"), but all will cheer the likable, virtuous Prager. Agent, Wendy Silbert at Harvey Klinger. (Feb. 1)
Blurbs from Michael Connelly, S.J. Rozan and Steve Hamilton will help lift this one out of the pack.