Bannister’s engrossing tale is both thrilling and poignant, not easy to do in one work. Her plot and characters are exceptionally well written and her new book is not to be missed.
Jerome Cardy knows he’s going to be killed. When he’s picked up and put in jail, he suspects he’ll die that night. The other guy in the cell has suffered a concussion and won’t be able to protect him, but he might be able to provide justice after the fact. So Jerome gives Gabriel Ash a cryptic message to be told to someone if Jerome dies in jail. After Jerome is killed, Ash puts his trust in new recruit Officer Hazel Best, hoping she’ll make sense of the message. But Ash is the town loony. Is there any truth to his story, or is it just crazy talk from a concussed madman? Best puts her career and life on the line to find out. (MINOTAUR, Mar., 272 pp., $24.99)