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It begins with the kind of bizarre death that makes headlines—literally. A copy editor at the Cleveland Herald is found hanging above the grinding wheels of the newspaper assembly line, a wide strap wrapped around his throat. Forensic investigator Maggie Gardiner has her suspicions about this apparent suicide inside the tsunami of tensions that is the news industry today—and when the evidence suggests murder, Maggie has no choice but to place her trust in the one person she doesn’t trust at all . . .


Jack Renner is a killer with a conscience, a vigilante with his own code of honor. In the past, Jack has used his skills and connections as a homicide detective to take the law into his own hands, all in the name of justice. He has only one problem: Maggie knows his secret. She insists he enforce the law, not subvert it. But when more newspaper employees are slain, Jack may be the only person who can help Maggie unmask the killer-- even if Jack is still checking names off his own private murder list.

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PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY: In bestseller Black’s solid sequel to 2016’s That Darkness, forensic technician Maggie Gardiner and her associate, homicide detective Jack Renner, investigate the suspicious death of Robert Davis, a copy editor at the Cleveland Herald. Davis’s body was found late one night hanging by the neck above the printing machinery in the Herald’s three-story-high offset room. What first appears to be a suicide turns out to be murder. Talk of the impending death of the daily print newspaper lends color to the case, the details of which police procedural wonks are sure to relish. Black does a good job contrasting the complex characters of her two leads. Given the devil-in-the-details character of her profession, Maggie is naturally drawn to minutiae. Jack’s idea of serving justice leans more toward ignoring the nuance and inconvenience of due process—to say the least—and it’s that divergence that both divides and, ironically, binds the two.

BOOKLIST:  A murder at the struggling Cleveland Herald reunites forensic investigator Maggie Gardiner and detective Jack Renner (introduced in That Darkness, 2016), who share each other’s dreadful secrets. When the body of copy editor Bob Davis is found hanging above the newspaper assembly line, it seems a suicide until Gardiner recognizes that it’s actually murder by strangulation. And Davis is only the first on the newspaper’s staff to die, with the next incident so blatant there’s no suspicion of suicide. As the investigation continues, Gardiner worries about the off-duty activities of Renner, whom she discovered was a vigilante serial killer, à la Dexter. More than one character bemoans the death of the daily newspaper and the resulting effect on our democracy, as the Herald’s future is revealed to be the underlying cause of the mayhem. Solid mystery fare, though the real appeal here is to those who share concern over the fate of newspapers.

RT Book Reviews: The protagonists in this series are both hiding tremendous secrets while trying to solve murders at a dying Cleveland newspaper. The antagonism between the lead characters was previously revealed, but the tension has them treading lightly, because the stakes are extremely high.