Evelyn James, forensic pathologist for the Cleveland Medical Examiner, is called out to the river¿s edge to take a look at the body of a girl, recently pulled from the water. A Caucasian, the dark marbling of decomposition had spread through her limbs like poison. After years in the job, Evelyn is used to such things ¿ to the sight of victims washed up by poverty or grief ¿ but this is quite different, and much nastier. Her feet had been encased in concrete, her body wrapped in chains. Every ounce of Evelyn¿s experience suggests this girl was alive when she went in ¿ alive and terrified, clawing at the dark water. And she isn¿t alone ¿ other girls have recently met a similar fate.
Cleveland¿s mayor, Daryl Pierson, doesn¿t like the bad press, nor does he like coming into contact with Evelyn again ¿ they were lovers once, a long time ago, and much has been left unsaid between them. Evelyn's hunt for the killer takes her into the highest and lowest levels of society and brings her face to face with a ghost from her past. But when the daughter of a prominent family disappears, she finds herself in a desperate bid to put the pieces of the puzzle together, before she is called, once again, to the water¿s edge.
Death is part of daily life for single mother Evelyn James, a forensic scientist in the Cleveland, Ohio, medical examiner's office. In the opening pages of this tepid debut thriller, Evelyn is called to the scene of a bizarre crime: a young woman has been drowned in the Cuyahoga River, her feet submerged in a bucket of cement. When a second victim, who escaped drowning only to be strangled, turns out to be the daughter of Evelyn's long-ago beau, Darryl Pierson (now Cleveland's mayor), Evelyn ventures beyond her job description to pursue the criminals behind the clues. Among those under suspicion: notorious mobster Mario Ashworth, the mayor's childhood friend and the first victim's employer; and overzealous hospital nurse James Neal, who once administered care to each of the murdered girls. As Evelyn inches ever closer to the killer, she fears for the safety of her own teenage daughter, Angel. Becka, a Cape Coral, Fla., forensic scientist, has created a frank, honest protagonist who loves what she does, but too many procedural details encumber rather than enliven the novel. While there's sufficient suspense to keep the pages turning, Becka's offering lacks the crisp prose and poise of Patricia Cornwell and Jan Burke.