During one of the first heavy snows of the winter, on the Interstate outside the Twin Cities, Rushmore McKenzie is behind a truck behaving erratically when the man in the truck bed dumps a body out onto the road, right in front of McKenzie's car. McKenzie avoids hitting the body, a bound woman who is just barely alive, but his stopped car in the middle of the road starts a chain of accidents, resulting in a thirty-seven car pile-up. By the time the time the police arrive, and the EMTs and ambulances have taken care of the immediate injuries, the truck is long gone.
The injured woman awakens with no memories—not of the accident, not of anything—and is labeled by the police as Unidentified Woman #15. With few leads, the detective in charge, McKenzie's former partner and old friend Bobby Dunston, turns to McKenzie for a favor. Now McKenzie has to try to identify the grievously injured woman, find out who tied her up and dumped on the freeway to die. And why.
At the outset of Housewright's arresting 12th McKenzie novel (after 2014's The Devil May Care), a guy in a pickup truck dumps a woman's bound body on a Twin Cities freeway in the midst of a snowstorm; ex-cop turned unlicensed PI Rushmore McKenzie just misses hitting the woman with his Audi. The 20ish woman is still alive and either has amnesia or is real good at faking it. As a favor to Bobby Dunston, a policeman friend of McKenzie's, McKenzie and girlfriend Nina agree to let "Unidentified Woman Number Fifteen" move in with them temporarily. When she disappears one day, McKenzie launches an investigation, seemingly in competition with the police's own. The plot and subplots involve so many characters it's hard to keep track of who's doing what to whom. But Housewright creates such pitch-perfect dialogue and gives such wry observations that you may forgive him this flaw.