cover image Head Case

Head Case

Michael Wiley. Severn, $28.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8983-6

At the start of Wiley’s outstanding third mystery featuring Chicago PI Sam Kelson (after 2020’s Lucky Bones), Kelson confronts car thief Gary Renshaw in the hallway of the man’s building. Renshaw shoots Kelson in the arm, landing him back in the hospital, where he once spent time recovering from a head wound that left him with disinhibition, a condition that renders him incapable of not answering any question asked of him or sharing his thoughts, and afflicted with occasional bouts of being unable to recognize himself in a mirror. At the hospital, Kelson is befriended by nurse Jose Feliciano, who shares his suspicions that some of the facility’s patients have died unnatural deaths. Kelson initially dismisses the claim, but agrees to help when another patient dies unexpectedly, and Feliciano’s girlfriend, also a nurse, is blamed for a fatal error. The whodunit plotline is enhanced by Wiley’s superior gift at integrating humor, mostly deriving from Kelson’s inability to keep himself from sharing blunt truths. The author’s ingenuity shows no sign of diminishing. Fans of the TV series Monk will be enthralled. Agent: Lukas Ortiz, Philip G. Spitzer Literary. (Apr.)