Alabama police detective Cooper Devereaux chases a cunning serial killer terrorizing the city of Birmingham in this edge-of-your-seat thriller for readers of James Lee Burke, Craig Johnson, and Robert Crais.
A woman disappears on her twenty-first birthday. The following day her body is found, wrapped neatly like a gift in a crumbling, sun-speckled graveyard. What does Detective Devereaux have to go on? Very little. No motive, no suspects. Then another victim is discovered in a crematorium parking lot. Again, she was killed on her twenty-first birthday. Again, her body was wrapped like a gift. By the third murder the tabloids have dubbed the homicidal monster the Birthday Killer—and Devereaux is under the gun.
While Devereaux’s own violent and mysterious past nips at his heels, and his fragile home life threatens to unravel, he can’t afford to be anything but totally obsessed with the frantic search through the many layers of this city, from its wealthy enclaves to its dark criminal underbelly. The only certainty is that Devereaux is hunting a killer determined to fulfill a deranged agenda in which women’s lives are extinguished like candles on a cake.
Early in Grant's lackluster third novel featuring Det. Cooper Devereaux of the Birmingham, Ala., PD (after 2017's False Friend), Deborah Holt's body is found one morning in front of the gates of Hoover cemetery. Deborah, who's been strangled, is wrapped in a bed sheet and tied with a bow, and it's her 20th birthday. Devereaux and his partner, Tommy Garretty, investigate, but the crime scene yields few clues. The next morning, a second Birthday Killer victim is dumped on the grounds of a crematorium. Devereaux and Garretty conduct a series of interviews that lead to busboy Billy Flynn. When they arrive at Flynn's house to question him, the place explodes into flames. Garretty is injured from the blast, and Devereaux rushes inside to save Flynn. When Flynn, their primary suspect, dies at the hospital, they think the case is closed. Then a third body turns up, and they have more work to do. Some readers may find Devereaux's eye-rolling swagger a bit much, but the main problem is that the story generates little suspense.