Those familiar with Dolan's previous work will realize immediately that this is a "prequel" to his David Loogan stories. Before he was Loogan, he was David Malone. David has a fight with his fiancee causing him to leave abruptly. While he is driving he meets Jana, whose car had struck a deer and is shaken up at the side of the road. David and Jana hit it off and he ends up moving in with Jana. Jana has some hidden secrets and gives the impression that she is being watched. David tries to find the "watcher" and only finds some discarded popsicle sticks.
A few days later Jana is murdered and David is hauled in as a suspect by Detective Morretti. Morretti questions David and David suggests Morretti look for the "watcher" with the popsicle sticks instead. David goes to do his investigating thinking that a bruise that Jana had might be a clue. This leads him to Roger Tolliver, who Jana was working for. Tolliver is a college professor leading a group that tries to help "wrongly" convicted criminals by trying to find new evidence to overturn their cases. Jana was trying to help convicted killer Gary Pruit get a new trial.
David is sure that Jana's investigation led to her murder as forces behind convicting Pruit may have wanted the case to stay closed and those forces needed to silence Jana. The author gives clues early on that this force may be a character only known as "K" (maybe the author is familiar with Franz Kafka). K is the "watcher" that David is searching for and is very much watching what David is doing.
Dolan does a great job in keeping the mystery going and keeping the reader guessing. We are not really sure if Morretti is an inept detective or really a part of the wrong doings. I had a lot of difficulty putting this book down (as I did with Dolan's other two David Loogan books) and really enjoyed this book. The only thing that kept me from giving it the full five stars is the overuse of flashbacks and the fact that the flashbacks were not in a serial manner. This made some parts confusing as I tried to orient myself to the timeline the author was presenting.
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