cover image I Am Gold

I Am Gold

Bill James. Countryman, $23.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-88150-951-9

Asst. Chief Constable Desmond Iles and Det. Chief Supt. Colin Harpur remain effective colleagues, despite their bickering, in James’s solid 27th Harpur & Iles mystery set in an unnamed English seaport (after May 2011’s Hotbed). The uneasy détente between the town’s police and criminals is shattered when a gunman riddles gang leader Mansel Shale’s Jaguar, killing his wife, Naomi, and his school-age son, Laurent. Was Ralph Ember (aka Panicking Ralph), Shale’s rival, behind the attack? Will there be blood in the streets? After the gunman crashes his car, he flees on foot, seizes a hostage, and bolts into a nearby shop, where he takes several more hostages. Iles proclaims himself “Gold”—in absolute charge of the hostage situation—though Harpur has his own idea of how it should be handled. In flashbacks, James adds another colorful piece to his serial crime saga by describing the meeting and wooing of Shale and Naomi. (Dec.)