cover image The Day He Left: A Violent Crime Investigations Team Mystery

The Day He Left: A Violent Crime Investigations Team Mystery

Frederick Weisel. Poisoned Pen, $16.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-4642-1421-9

At the start of Weisel’s excellent sequel to 2021’s The Silenced Women, Annie Behrens, an alcoholic nurse, is awakened by a call one morning from the Santa Rosa, Calif., middle school where her husband, Paul, teaches English to say he hasn’t shown up. When Annie tries to phone Paul, she notices Paul left his cell phone at home, along with his lesson plans. That afternoon, Annie reports Paul missing to the police. Lt. Eddie Mahler, a member of the Santa Rosa PD Violent Crimes Investigation team, interviews Annie, who has no idea why her husband has disappeared. Mahler notices Annie has been drinking and wonders whether Paul was fleeing a dysfunctional marriage, and evidence surfaces suggesting Paul may have had inappropriate relationships with female students. The search for the truth leads to some surprising answers. The VCI team members aren’t cynical, wise-cracking super cops; on the contrary, they’re troubled individuals who accept that “people are complex” and capable of all kinds of foolish, noble, and destructive actions. Weisel does a terrific job blending police procedural with character study. (Feb.)