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MYSTERY/Parker, T. Jefferson
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New York : Hyperion 2002.
1st ed
Item Description
"A Merci Rayborn novel"--Cover.
Physical Description
338 p.
Main Author
T. Jefferson Parker (-)
Review by Booklist Review

Merci Rayborn, homicide detective for the Orange County, California, sheriff's department, has a crime scene that's a puzzler. And it's going to be very high profileupscale enclave of million-dollar estates, and one of the victims is a cop. Gwen Wildcraft is dead, and her husband, Archie, is unconscious with a severe head wound. Wildcraft is a patrol officer with the department, and his gun appears to be the murder weapon. Merci's superiors would prefer a quick call of murder-suicide, but her instincts tell her that's the wrong conclusion. Why would Archie choose to end this seemingly idyllic life when all who knew them said they were deeply in love? When Archie regains consciousness, his memory is spotty. Now he's suicidal because he wants to rejoin Gwen, but before he does, there is a vengeance killing to perform. The third entry in the Rayborn series is an excellent crime novel driven by Parker's recurrent theme of loss and isolation through illness or injury. Every significant character is coping with some type of loss, and their response to it is what defines them. A thoughtful, multilayered tale in which crime is a catalyst rather than the centerpiece. --Wes Lukowsky

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

After 10 California noir cop thrillers, Parker may have finally settled on a series character to anchor at least a portion of his work: Merci Rayborn, a single mom consumed by her job as a homicide detective with the Orange County Sheriff's Department. The Blue Hour and Edgar-nominated Red Light both chronicled the professional fall from grace that left Rayborn a black sheep in the department, and she remains a fascinating (if somewhat distressing) character to watch. Without her colleagues' full cooperation, she plows into a thorny double shooting: a beautiful young woman, Gwen Wildcraft, is found dead in her lavish hillside home, while her husband, sheriff deputy Archie Wildcraft, lies in the garden with a bullet in his head. Archie manages to survive, but has little memory of what happened. Growing evidence, however, indicates that he murdered his wife, then failed at trying to kill himself. Despite the media clamoring for answers and political pressure mounting to arrest Archie, Rayborn's instinct tells her this was not a bungled murder/suicide. Instead, the case points her in other directions, toward an upstart biotech company, Russian mobsters and Archie's nearly impenetrable past. Parker takes great strides in unfurling Rayborn's life of quiet desperation and that of her immediate social circle her father, her partner on the force and her young son. Though lacking the kind of explosive finale that marks most of Parker's novels, this latest is a showcase for mood, setting and pace. $150,000 marketing campaign; national author tour. (Apr. 24) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

Parker has written another winner. Black Water begins with the killing of a young woman and the wounding of her husband, a young sheriff's deputy named Archie Wildcraft. Is it the attempted murder/suicide that it appears to be or is it something more complex and sinister? Determining this is the task of Detective Merci Rayborn (from a previous Parker novel) and her partner, Paul Zamora, which becomes more complicated when Wildcraft, who has a bullet in his brain, checks himself out of the hospital and disappears. With an exciting and fast-paced plot and interesting and complex characters, this novel includes discussion of the biotech industry, the Russian Mafia, and the nature of brain injuries. Aasne Vigesaa does a solid job, effectively capturing the mood of the book. Highly recommended for all audio collections.DChristine Valentine, Davenport Univ., Kalamazoo, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

The Archie Wildcrafts-young, good-looking, sweet-natured-had joined in a marriage that seemed destined for the long haul. Then suddenly, she's shot dead, and for a while he's nearer dead than alive, a bullet lodged in his brain. Though he beats the odds and survives, the investigators of the Orange County Sheriff's department find the case taking shape in a way they hate, as a murder and an unsuccessful suicide, with the alleged perpetrator, Deputy Archie, one of their own. To Sergeant Merci Rayborn, however, the whole deal screams frame. Yes, there's Gwen's blood on Archie's bathrobe and Archie's fingerprints on the murder weapon, but to Merci, weaned by her mentors on the bedrock idea that "there's a lot more to a homicide case than fingerprints," it's all off-kilter. From the outset, her detective's instincts have seized on an essential truth: Archie loved Gwen and couldn't have killed her. In the meantime, an ambitious, headline-hunting DA, sensing an easy conviction, wants Archie before a grand jury. Merci resists, stalls, maneuvers. Sniffing here and there, she finally gets a whiff of a money trail that leads to a pair of ruthless Russian wiseguys whose impact on Gwen was both surprising and pernicious. But Merci's not their only stalker. Turns out that a pair of vengeful ghosts are along for the ride. Parker (Silent Joe, 2001, etc.) scores again with a heroine whose steely toughness is leavened by warmth and vulnerability. It's a pleasure to spend time with her. $150,000 ad/promo; author tour

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.