Book #38 was The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos. The back of the book reads:
The haunting story of three cops — one good, one bad, one broken — and the murder that reunites them in a showdown decades in the making. Gus Ramone is good police, a former Internal Affairs investigator now working homicide for the city’s Violent Crime branch. His new case involves the death of a local teenager named Asa, whose body has been found in a community garden. The murder unearths intense memories of a case Ramone worked as a patrol cop 20 years earlier, when he and his partner, Dan Doc Holiday, assisted a legendary detective named T.C. Cook. The series of murders, all involving local teenage victims, was never solved. In the years since, Holiday has left the force under a cloud of morals charges. Cook has retired, but he has never stopped agonizing about the Night Gardener killings. The new case draws the three men together, re-igniting the love, regret, and anger that once burned between them, and old ghosts walk once more as they try to lay to rest the monster who has stalked their dreams.
Pelecanos is a producer/writer for the HBO show The Wire (excellent show, btw), and that same grittiness is felt in his writing here. I saw some common themes between the two. It’s also nice to have a crime novel that isn’t set in New York.
This book not only focuses on a serial killer who may have struck again, but also touches on racial issues and homophobia. I enjoyed the book, but there is a second storyline that appears to be there for no reason. I was expecting the two to converge at some point, but except for a very minor character overlap the two had absolutely nothing to do with each other. If it wasn’t for that, I would have given this 4 stars instead of 3.
Page count: 384 | Approximate word count: 106,027