WHODUNIT: JACK BAT­TEN

“The Dark Room,” by Jonathan Moore, Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, 304 pages, $24

The Hamilton Spectator - - BOOKS -

San Fran­cisco’s mayor com­plains that some­body’s blackmailing him. He sum­mons Gavin Cain, the city’s ace po­lice de­tec­tive, to nail the black­mailer be­fore this per­son gets mur­der­ous, some­thing the black­mail let­ter seems to threaten.

Then, in Jonathan Moore’s sharply con­ceived and even more sharply writ­ten new book, things start hap­pen­ing that not even the wis­est and best read of crime fic­tion devo­tees could an­tic­i­pate. Moore is a re­source­ful writer, a con­ceiver of non-stop turns in plot that take us through mur­ders of im­mense hor­ror and mys­tery.

And in Gavin Cain, Moore in­tro­duces a mar­vel­lous new sleuth. For ded­i­ca­tion to the job mixed with a gen­er­ous shot of smarts, you won’t find his equal any­where this side of Michael Con­nolly’s Harry Bosch, who hap­pens to be 23 years se­nior to Cain.

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