The Big Exit by David Carnoy
David Carnoy has done two extraordinary things. The first extraordinary thing he did was write a very good, complex, and entertaining mystery called Knife Music. The second extraordinary thing he did was follow up that novel with an even better one called The Big Exit.
Too many good first novels are followed by disappointing second novels that read like "first tries" hauled out of some dusty file and spruced up to meet some new demand. In The Big Exit, all the things that made Knife Music a good read are back and Carnoy does a better job with each element.
The characters are well-drawn and interesting. Richie Forman is a recently released parolee who earns a living of sorts by impersonating Frank Sinatra. Beth Hill, his former fiancee, is now married to Richie's ex-friend, a man Richie believes framed him for the crime that sent him to prison. Carolyn Dupuy, the prosecutor at Richie's trial, is now Beth's attorney, and Hank Madden is back as the investigating officer.
As the story opens, Mark, the ex-friend, is found in his garage horribly hacked to death and Richie quickly becomes the prime suspect.
What follows is a plot full of surprises and terrific twists. Twice, I thought I had cleverly spotted the hidden clue to the real killer's identity only to be sent scuttling in an entirely different direction.
If you missed Knife Music, I suggest you read that one first because this is a series that could become seriously addicting. And, remember to come back and read The Big Exit. It is an excellent second novel.