cover image You’re Dead

You’re Dead

Chris Knopf. Permanent, $29.95 (296p) ISBN 978-1-57962-566-5

At the start of this stellar standalone from Knopf (Tango Down and seven other Sam Acquillo mysteries), Dr. Waters, an organizational psychologist for ExciteAble Technologies, a New Haven, Conn., aerospace manufacturing company, comes home one night to find the bloody head of the company’s owner, Paresh Rajput, on a bedroom floor. The New Haven police, for whom Waters has done consulting work, soon gather circumstantial evidence pointing to his guilt. A suspiciously large direct deposit was made from ExciteAble to his account the day of Rajput’s death, of which he claims to know nothing, and the rest of his boss’s body turns up in his rented storage unit. Part of Waters’s job, from which he’s suspended, involved screening prospective employees; now he’s the one under scrutiny. Anonymous death threats against him raise the stakes, as does his discovery that ExciteAble is under investigation for defrauding the federal government. Knopf plays fair as he matches well-developed characters with a crafty whodunit plot, one whose resolution few readers will anticipate. (Dec.)