Little, Brown, Jun 2003, 24.95, 422 pp.
Riverside, New York Police Chief Harold Baltimore knows that the headless floater is not a poor person. He bases his conclusion on the liposuction scars found on the corpse. Harold soon learns that online sports-memorabilia salesman Jeffrey Lanier has filed a missing person's report. When he returned home from a business trip his wife Sandi was nowhere to be seen. Harold concludes that the headless floater is Sandi.
Photographer Lynn Stockdale Schulman is devastated by the violent death of her best friend. Even more moribund to the grieving woman is that Detective Lieutenant Michael Fallon is using the tragedy to hit on her, as he wants to renew their high-school romance. When Michael begins crossing the line her husband tells her to file a sexual harassment charge against the cop. Sandi's murder goes to a back burner as the dysfunctional triangle heats up.
A social veneer related to sexual harassment, immigration and 9-11 is placed over the police procedural, but this is a two edged sword. On the one hand it provides depth and insight into a small town coping with a nasty world, but on the other it trivializes the homicide investigation. The cast is intriguing though at times they act more like soap opera performers as everyone has a dark secret to hide. Still THE LAST GOOD DAY entertains the audience, but aimed more at those fans that prefer reading about the sins of village life on a greater footing than the murder mystery.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner