Against all odds, Bobbi Logan, a statuesque transgender woman, has become one of Chicago's most celebrated hair stylists and the owner of one of the city's poshest salons. She is finally comfortable with who she is, widely admired in her community, about to enjoy the success she deserves.
Then her impossibly perfect life falls apart.
In the space of a few weeks, the Great Recession drags her business to the brink of failure, her beloved ex-wife needs help in facing a terrible tragedy, and a hateful police detective storms back into her life, determined to convict her of the five-year-old murder of John Strand—pillar of the community—and a sexual predator.
As the detective builds an ever more convincing case against her, both of them will be shaken by revelations—about themselves, about their own deeply held secrets, and about the bizarre ritual murder of John Strand.
In James's solid second novel about hairdresser Bobbi Logan (after 2014's Transition to Murder), the murder of John Strand a psychopath who preyed on trans women comes back to haunt Bobbi. Bobbi, now the owner of the Chicago salon at which she was employed, tries to spend her life focusing on work and on helping her newly widowed ex-wife, who's in turn trying to raise a young daughter. Meanwhile, Allan Wilkins, a bigoted police detective, believes that Bobbi murdered Strand and is intent on doing whatever he can to prove it. Bobbi, who's innocent, wonders whether her friend Cecelia, a retired investment banker, might have been involved. She prefers to focus on her business woes in the down economy and on her attraction to Phil, a Chicago PD officer who's tried to improve police relationships with the city's queer community. That no one is ever in any real peril may dismay some mystery fans, but as a character study of the crime's impact on Wilkins and Bobbi, this outing is effective.