Det.Sgt. Merci Rayborn and her partner, Paul Zamora are back again in an intense murder investigation involving an Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Archie Wildcraft , who is the prime suspect in what appears to be a murder-suicide.
Archie is hospitalized,in a coma,after being found outside his home with a fragmented bullet in his head. His service weapon, a9mm semi-auto pistol is found in his hand showing evidence of having been fired three times. His wife Gwen, is found dead inside the bathroom of the home.She has been shot twice with Archies service weapon.
The Sheriff is reticent to arrest one of his own but assistant district attorney Dawe s is ambitious and eager to convict based on the current evidence alone. Merci is uncertain and wants to wait for Archie to regain consciousness and provide her with more information to help her clear him and find the true killer. Archie has his own plans and though not completely healed he leaves the hospital and begins his own investigation.
Parker develops Merci' s character through empathy with what Archie must be going through with the loss of his wife. She understands the intensity of his feelings and the loss of his love which she believe to be much like her feelings when she lost her love Tim Hess.(THE BLUE HOUR). Again when Paul 's wife Janine died of cancer (THE RED LIGHT)'
Her love for her child,Tim Jr. has broadened her outlook on life and has caused her to 're-examine her career goals,although she remains an aggressive, no-holds barred homicide investigator.
Archie manages to track down both the mysterious size 16 shoe wearer who left a print at his home as well as his blonde haired passenger. He has also discovered the motive for the fatal attack at Archie' s home that night.
It's a good thing Merci and Paul had also turned up the same evidence in time to follow up Archie' s pursuit of the criminals and to witness the climactic conclusion. I nearly set my Kindle Fire on Fire as I poked the pages faster and faster until the end.
We can only hope that Parker will give Merci another case to solve soon.
I highly recommend this novel. It is without a doubt the ,best of the three Merci Rayborn series. But that being said I also recommend that you read THE BLUE HOUR and THE RED LIGHT in sequence prior to this BLACK WATER novel. You'll be glad you did. Thanks for your time.