Inspector Vincent Gratelli hunts a serial killer through San Francisco in this “dark, twisty little gem” from the author of the Deets Shanahan mysteries (Kirkus Reviews).
The Bay Strangler is at large in San Francisco. One after another, the lifeless bodies of young women are found beaten, sexually assaulted, and adorned with an intimate tattoo. Homicide Inspector Vincent Gratelli, and his partner, Inspector Mickey McClellan, are charged with finding the killer—a highly intelligent individual who appears to be expert at leaving no trace behind.
But the Strangler’s latest victim, PI Julia Bateman, clings to life in a coma. As the media swarms and the entire city braces itself for the next attack, Julia may provide the evidence Vincent and Mickey need to catch the killer—if she survives long enough to talk.
The Bay Strangler, a serial killer who breaks the necks of his female victims and adorns each with a tattoo, stymies crusty, opera-loving Vincente Gratelli, a San Francisco homicide inspector, in this middling crime novel from Tierney, best known for his Deets Shanahan PI series (Bullet Beach, etc.). When PI Julia Bateman is sexually assaulted and beaten at her country cabin, a "crudely carved rosebud" on her thigh leads Gratelli and his partner, Insp. Mickey McClellan, to suspect a link to the previous crimes, despite her assailant leaving her alive. As the murders become a local sensation, the two inspectors must also contend with their department's political response to the crisis. A digression as Bateman recuperates back home in Iowa slows things down a bit, but the author adds suspense by presenting the killer's perspective on events. The closing twist is likely to shock only genre newcomers.