cover image Damaged Goods

Damaged Goods

Gerry Boyle. Down East Books, $24.95 (264pp) ISBN 978-0-89272-796-4

Robert Parker fans who have yet to discover Boyle will be pleasantly surprised by his suspenseful ninth crime novel set in Maine featuring former New York Times reporter Jack McMorrow (after 2004's Home Body). Jack, his social worker wife, Roxanne, and their young daughter, Sophie, become the target of deranged satanist Harland Wilton after Roxanne's inquiry into child abuse leads to the removal of Harland's two boys from his custody. Meanwhile, McMorrow pursues a story involving an enigmatic woman named Mandi, whose ad in the local paper offers companionship for hire. The journalist becomes increasingly curious about her, and having traced where she lives, he finds that she's been assaulted and unable to fend for herself. McMorrow arranges a safe haven for Mandi with a neighbor, even as Roxanne's qualms grow about his blurring his professional and personal lives. Boyle has succeeded in creating a likable lead whose sense of responsibility is reminiscent of Spenser as well as supporting characters with depth.