St. Martin's, Feb 2003, 24.95, 368 pp.
In Broadminster, the night is nasty and stormy as it has been in much of November. Newly assigned for training purposes as much as filling a vacancy, Constable Kathleen Regan asks her superior Detective Chief Inspector Neil Paget to help her traverse the muddy parking lot to her car. After seeing her off, Neil turns to his own vehicle only to have an unknown assailant slice his throat. The fortunate arrival of other police officers forces the culprit to flee before the job is completed and enables the rushing of Neil to the hospital where his life is saved.
Everyone is shocked by the assault in the lot adjacent to the police station. Superintendent Alcott leads the investigation that includes Detective Sergeant John Tregalles as the key on the ground participant. Unable to stay home to recuperate, Neil accompanies his loyal sergeant on interviews and vaguely recalls his attacker mumbling "That's for Jill", the name of Neil's dead wife.
The key to this latest pleasurable Paget police procedural is Neil's struggle to cope with his near death, his inability to let John take charge and his helplessness when his new love is endangered. The story line is exciting as John and Neil make inquiries seeking a link when other individuals have their throats slashed. Frank Smith makes this case personal as the audience gets deep inside the mind of the hero.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner