Mike Travis, a retired homicide detective, is summoned back to duty when a murder victim’s wounds lead investigators to suspect she’s the latest victim of a serial killer whom Mike had tried and failed to catch. Picking up the killer’s trail once again proves to be more deadly than Mike could possibly anticipate. The cop-coming-out-of-retirement premise is a familiar one, but, handled well, it can still provide plenty of new surprises. Birtcher clearly put some work into this novel, assembling his plot out of components that are slightly unusual (how many mystery novels, for instance, use rock-and-roll-legend Jim Morrison as a vital plot element?). The novel is quite graphic in places, and the dialogue gets a bit raw from time to time, but Birtcher doesn’t use vivid imagery and language as a substitute for good storytelling. The novel is well crafted and entirely satisfying, a complete success. Another Mike Travis mystery would be most welcome.