cover image Kill Her Twice

Kill Her Twice

Jack Fredrickson. Severn, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-5063-8

Fredrickson’s enjoyable eighth Dek Elstrom mystery (after 2018’s Tagged for Murder) finds the PI at a low point: hunting for a lost cat with a $100 reward on its furry head. Matters, however, are not so bad that Elstrom wants Martin Tripp as a client. Tripp confessed to killing Sara Jansen, his shrewish girlfriend, in their home in a quiet Chicago suburb, but in a courtroom sleight of hand, he escaped a murder conviction. Now, Tripp wants Elstrom to prove that he didn’t kill Sara. Reluctantly, Elstrom agrees to try to identify the real culprit. The $200 Tripp shoves at him is, after all, worth two lost cats. As Elstrom investigates, he discovers schemes awash with shakedowns, money laundering, nepotism, and plain old Chicago-style politics with lots of double-dealing and no honor among thieves. Fredrickson offers readers a rough and tumble tale of colorful gangsters and lawmen who would have been right at home in Prohibition-era Chicago. Hard-boiled fans will want to see a lot more of Elstrom, a throwback to the likes of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe. Agent: John Silbersack, Bent Agency. (Apr.)