In the Hush of the Night

Raymond Benson. Skyhorse, $24.99 (324p) ISBN 978-1-5107-2987-2

Chicago FBI special agent Annie Marino, the heroine of this uneven crime novel from Benson (The Secrets on Chicory Lane), joins forces with Harris Caruthers, an FBI special agent from Detroit, after the body of an unidentified young woman with bear claws tattooed on her neck turns up in Lakeway, Mich. She is but the latest victim in a series of slayings in recent years of women all with the same tattoo. Marino and Caruthers begin to uncover what appears to be an international human trafficking network. The suspense builds as the focus shifts among a number of characters, including Yana Kravec, a Russian woman lured to the U.S. by prospects of the good life; Marino’s neighbor, writer Jason Ward, whose prospective brother-in-law, Trey Paley, could have ties to the Russian mob; and Trey’s wealthy father, Greg, who owns an import business. Marino proves herself a dedicated investigator, but the results of her efforts lead to a forced and unsatisfying ending. Benson has done better. (May)