||Minneapolis has more than its share of interesting cops (Lucas Davenport of the John Sandford thrillers, for one), and Tami Hoag's homicide dicks, Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska, join the club in this thoughtful and surprisingly moving novel of dirty cops and cover-ups. Internal Affairs investigator Andy Fallon is a suicide--or is he? The word around the department is that Andy, son of Iron Mike Fallon, an old hero of Sam's, killed himself because Mike turned his back on him when Andy told him he was gay. Or maybe it was because a lover dumped him, or even (snicker, snicker) a perverted sexual practice gone wrong. That's the gossip, but Sam feels he owes it to Mike to investigate.
Sam is a familiar type in this genre, and his self-awareness is almost painful at times. "You're a stereotype. The tragic hero," he's told by Amanda Savard, the strong-but-vulnerable Internal Affairs lieutenant whose determination to keep the Fallon case closed foreshadows her personal history. "The twice-divorced, smoking, drinking workaholic," Sam agrees. "I don't know what's heroic about that. It reeks of failure to me, but maybe I have unrealistic standards." But Sam's droll sense of humor is matched by his deeply ingrained crap detector. When Iron Mike apparently kills himself too, you can almost feel its needle vibrate. Then Sam and Nikki open another closed case, this one almost two decades old, and find the connections that threaten to unravel past crimes and future promises. Hoag is a writer very much in command of her craft: the pacing excels, the characters are complex and interesting, and the details well worked out. Readers will look forward to another Kovac and Liska adventure. --Jane Adams