cover image Sins of the Flesh

Sins of the Flesh

Colleen McCullough. Simon & Schuster, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4767-3533-7

McCullough’s fifth Capt. Carmine Delmonico novel (after 2012’s The Prodigal Son) will be welcomed by readers who just love that creepy feeling. It starts with a man being starved to death as well as castrated—and he’s not the only victim. Finding a psychopathic killer is a tough job for the police force of small-town Holloman, Conn., so the smart, if quirky, Delmonico returns early from vacation to lead his investigators, including Lt. Abe Goldberg and Sgt. Delia Carstairs. The story is set in 1969, though disappointingly, there’s no real connection to that year’s upheavals. However, fans should enjoy the precomputer, pre–cell phone police work. Rather than high-tech equipment, the investigation’s crucial element proves to be Delia’s friendship with two local women: one, the manager of a hip family-owned clothing business; the other, director of the local institution for the criminally insane. (And there’s plenty of criminal insanity to go round.) Agent: Michael Carlisle, Inkwell Management. (Nov.)