cover image Devil's Heaven: A Neil Hockaday Mystery

Devil's Heaven: A Neil Hockaday Mystery

Thomas Adcock. Pocket Books, $20 (322pp) ISBN 978-0-671-89778-9

In the dark and magical Drown all the Dogs (1994), special-crimes cop Neil Hockaday left New York City to probe his roots in Ireland, where he communed with dead and living ghosts, drank lots of Guinness and talked politics and philosophy. Now Hock's back in the Big Apple, on furlough from the force while doing his best to stay off the sauce. His new wife, black, New Orleans-born Ruby Flagg, returns to her high-level advertising job on the day that the beaten and mutilated body of Frederick Crosby, her odious former boss, is discovered in his apartment, a leather mask across his face and his arms and legs nailed to the floorboards. At the same time, someone is killing off gay men in the city, crimes given scant attention by the NYPD. Hock, helping out a PI buddy, unofficially hunts the killer and probes the Crosby murder, his footsteps dogged by a homophobic cop who shows up at every crime site. The narrative is well-plotted, but Adcock's prose here is less effectively lyrical than over-the-top (e.g., the account of Ruby's punching out Crosby in a former encounter) as Hock, somewhat self-pityingly, struggles with demons public and private for control of his sensitive Hibernian soul. Author tour. (Jan.)