cover image A Killing on the Hill

A Killing on the Hill

Robert Dugoni. Thomas & Mercer, $28.99 (366p) ISBN 978-1-66250-026-8

Bestseller Dugoni (the Tracy Crosswhite series) returns with a sterling slice of noir set in Depression-era Seattle. Nineteen-year-old William “Shoe” Shumacher, a cub crime reporter at the Seattle Daily Star, has just arrived from Kansas City, Mo. After following a tip from Det. Ernie Blunt, Shoe hits it big with his first story: an account of former boxer Frankie Ray’s murder at the Pom Pom Club, where members of Seattle’s elite illegally drink and gamble. The Pom Pom’s owner, well-connected gangster George Miller, is accused of shooting Frankie over a debt, but insists he was acting in self-defense. As Miller’s murder case gradually becomes the “Trial of the Century” thanks to reporting like Shoe’s, Seattle’s teeming underbelly gets put on national display. Meanwhile, Shoe becomes convinced that Miller is covering up a bloody and vast conspiracy, and starts poking around where he’s not welcome—all while falling in love with the dead man’s girlfriend. Dugoni scores a decisive win with this tale of greed, lust, and bloodshed: it’s chock-full of expertly drawn characters and plenty of historical lore, and its note-perfect noir atmosphere could accommodate James Cagney. Here’s hoping this gets the series treatment. Agent: Meg Ruley, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Apr.)