It's a particularly brutal crime. A woman is found hanging in a burning building, her hair chopped off and stuffed in her mouth. NYPD Det. Kathleen Mallory, adopted at 10 after a life alone on the street, knows the victim—she's a hooker named Sparrow, who years before befriended then abandoned the feral child.

The police consider it an isolated crime but Mallory knows it's connected to a 20-year-old case that stumped her foster father, Det. Louis Markowitz. When new, similar crimes occur, Mallory knows they're dealing with a madman whose gruesome work has just begun.

As Mallory works on the case, her past comes more and more into the forefront, and it's unclear whether solving these crimes will bring about a redemption of sorts or the total loss of her soul.

It's been three years since the last Mallory story, and CRIME SCHOOL is well worth the wait. This is an exciting, emotional story, beautifully written and often very funny, that delivers a baffling, intricately plotted mystery. We learn much more about the fascinating Kathy Mallory—and I defy readers not to be moved and surprised by the ending. (Sep., 341 pp., $24.95)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg