Once again James Hayman hooked me with the second book in the McCabe and Savage Thrillers series. Hayman’s ability to follow police procedures while developing characters that are so vibrant they seem to be friends, neighbors, and sometimes, people you want to avoid.
The Chill of Night: A McCabe and Savage Thriller takes place in Portland, Maine during a bitterly cold winter around the Christmas holidays.
The temperature in Portland has dropped to freezing, snow is falling, and young lawyer Lainie Goff is getting ready to leave for a vacation in the Caribbean over the Christmas holidays. Before she leaves town, she hopes to get the news that she has been made a junior partner in the illustrious law firm where she works. She’s worked very hard for the promotion and fully expects to get it. Two weeks later the beautiful and talented attorney is found frozen in the trunk of her BMW, parked at a local fishing pier.
The suspects are many and varied and it’s up to Mike McCabe and Maggie Savage to sort through the clues to catch the killer. Lainie’s boss seems to be the last person to have seen her alive when she left the office shortly before him the night before she was supposed to leave on holiday. It doesn’t help that he was also her lover and had virtually assured her she would be promoted. Another suspect is a former priest who operates a shelter for teens who are addicted to drugs, are prostitutes, or who have run away from their homes and have nowhere to go. Lainie is on the board of directors of the shelter and has even volunteered there. Another likely candidate to be the killer is Lainie’s landlord, a pervert who is hooked on porn and has shown a more than casual interest in the young woman. Add to this mix a man from Lainie’s past; her step-father who sexually abused her when she was young.
Amid the investigation a possible witness appears. Unfortunately, the mentally ill young girl who has been institutionalized in the past for schizophrenia. She too has volunteered at the shelter known as “The Sanctuary”. Does she know who the killer is? Could she possibly have murdered Lainie during a hallucination? If she does know who killed the lovely lawyer, will anyone believe her? When she goes missing on a snowy night on nearby Hart’s Island, the mystery deepens. Has she become the killer’s latest victim?
The story is compelling, the plot well thought out and provides enough twists to keep a reader engaged. Hayman raises the level of tense suspicion chapter by chapter until the dramatic denouement.
I did guess who the killer was although I was well past the halfway point in the story. The clues are there, but even as McCabe and Savage struggled to unwind the strands of evidence, I followed along enthusiastically.
I stumbled on to this series by accident and I can’t get enough of the two detectives and their investigative acumen.
My advice is to read the books in order as it’s delightful to follow the character’s as their relationship progresses. McCabe, a divorced father of a young girl, has a girlfriend. Savage is a single thirty-something. I secretly hope they will somehow find one another as they navigate the crimes that occur on the streets of Portland. That alone keeps me frantically reading.
James Hayman is now one of my favorite thriller writers.
A frozen corpse.
A missing witness.
Strange voices that aren’t there.
One cold night, Lainie Goff, a glamorous young attorney on the fast track to a partnership at Portland’s top firm, is found frozen in the trunk of her BMW on the local fishing pier.
Detectives Mike McCabe and Maggie Savage quickly uncover a long list of suspects: Lainie’s boss, who was also her lover; an ex-priest who runs a shelter for runaway teens; an abusive stepfather who raped Lainie as a teen; and a creepy landlord who seems to know more than he should about her private life.
Still, there is no hard evidence until a mentally ill young woman who hears voices gives an island cop an eyewitness account he doesn’t take seriously.
But when she too disappears, McCabe and Savage find themselves in a desperate race against time to stop a vicious killer before he rids himself of the only person who knows who he is.