On concluding this thriller, I am left with mixed feelings, the story defined ultimately by the investigation rather than the characters. The murder of a young woman, an attorney in a prestigious New England law firm, stuns the city of Portland, Maine, when he body is found frozen in the trunk of her car. Lainie Goff is a woman of secrets, pursuing a clandestine affair to boost her career, volunteering her time to aid troubled teenagers at Sanctuary House. Most disturbing for Detective Michael McCabe is Lainie's resemblance to McCabe's beautiful and unfaithful ex-wife, Sandy. Working with Maggie Savage, from Portland's Crimes Against People Unit, the detectives hone in on the most suspicious characters in Lainie's life, but when an eye witness appears at the police station on Hart's Island, McCabe's hopes for a speedy resolution are shattered: Abby Quinn is a diagnosed schizophrenic. Although the Hart's Island police dismiss Abby's claims, McCabe and Savage worry for the young woman's safety.
Hayman depends on the rhythms of a thorough police investigation to propel the story, moving between Portland and the island, the final confrontation with the killer on a cliff high over the crashing waves below. This is an inside view of police work, from the discovery of the first heinous crime to those that follow, a cat-and-mouse game of misdirection and conflicting evidence, the killer hiding in plain sight. The dialog carries the story line. To that end, the characters we know best are McCabe, Maggie and their coworkers, suspects grilled in interrogation rooms, forensics teams pouring over crime scenes. Because of this attention to detail, the story loses some of its human appeal, with a "Law and Order" feel rather than an exploration of characters and motives. Still, the author keeps a relentless pace, even though the reader may suspect the bad guy prematurely. Luan Gaines/2010.