Still reeling from his wife's recent miscarriage, Moe Prager is bullied into taking the case of an up-and-coming politico whose career has stalled over the suspicious disappearance of a young woman. It's been almost two years since Moira Heaton, State Senator Steven Brightman's intern, vanished on Thanksgiving Eve 1981. In spite of Brightman's best efforts to clear his name, he has been tried and convicted in the press. As a reluctant Moe peels away the layers of the case, he discovers the tragic circumstances of Moira Heaton's disappearance are buried deep in the past and that there is another more heinous crime at the heart of it all. Will the ugly truth set Brightman free or will it bury all the players beneath the crumbling artiface of corruption, murder, and hate?
Coleman draws inspiration from the real-life Gary Condit/Chandra Levy case for his appealing third hard-boiled mystery set in the early 1980s (after 2004's Redemption Street). New York PI Moe Prager and his wife, still traumatized by a recent miscarriage, are surprised to be guests at a high society wedding. The affair proves to be a pretext for a mover and shaker to recruit Prager to the cause of a charismatic state senator, Steven Brightman, whose political rise was stalled by the disappearance of an attractive young intern more than a year earlier. Despite the cold trail, thoroughly explored by both the police and Brightman's hired sleuths, Prager finds new clues that lead him to a surprise solution. Given this revelation relatively early on, few readers will be startled that a different truth emerges before the refreshingly ambiguous conclusion, with justice at best partially served. Not everyone will go for the heavy-handed humor (a long-winded "southern politico" named Clinton "had better stay in Arkansas, because he has about as much chance for national office as the Mets have of winning a second World Series"), but all will cheer the likable, virtuous Prager.