St. Martin's, Oct 2004, 22.95, 213 pp.
A homeless person died with an FBI agent's badge sewn into his pocket. The badge found on the John Doe belonged to Agent John Pilgrim, who was murdered in 1948.
The FBI asks Arizona Deputy David Mapstone to help on the case because he brings a unique perspective to an investigation. A former San Diego State University professor of history, David looks at clues from the viewpoint of a historian sifting through information. The Feds believe that point of view might explain how a badge lost over fifty years ago surfaced on a dead bum; ironically the FBI fails to cooperate when it comes to providing full information on the long dead agent. However David has other concerns involving his wife Lindsey; a computer whiz, she several others cracked a case involving the Russian mafia. Now three members of her team have been assassinated. As the Mapstones struggle to stay alive, the professor begins solving the homicide.
David works the cold case with little cooperation from the FBI, who wants to restrict his investigation to how the homeless person got the badge. His work also puts him in professional conflict with the Cold Case Squad. The sidebar involving his spouse adds suspense and ultimately ties back to the prime theme, but can be distracting until the reader sees the links.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner