There's something very old-fashioned about Robert J. Randisi's East of the Arch. While its serial-killer plot certainly offers some gripping moments, the characters--from the edge-treading lead cop to its self-absorbed politicians--are straight out of the How to Write Police Procedurals manual. And its principal perpetrator bears not even a hint of a redeeming quality. That Randisi nonetheless manages to keep one reading attests to the time-oiled ease of his prose.|
Joe Keough (introduced in 1995's Alone with the Dead) is a former New York City homicide detective, now living in St. Louis and doing mind-numbing security work for that city's mayor. But East of the Arch finds his expertise in solving serial slayings needed across the Mississippi, in the bad-rep Illinois burg of East St. Louis, where two women have been murdered during the forcible removal of their unborn children. Struggling to avoid myriad distractions, including a job offer in Washington, D.C., and rumors of abuse within the prospective foster family of a boy he helped more than a year before (see In the Shadow of the Arch), the instinct-driven Keough and an eager young local detective search for a sociopathic misogynist who is already nurturing his next victim--"his crowning achievement."
Though Randisi's history as an administrative assistant with the NYPD informs his storytelling, East of the Arch is too predictable, with a rapid summing-up that wastes the tension it had been progressively building. The 40-year-old Keough, an unsettled diabetic-in-denial, has all the makings of a thoroughbred series figure, but this novel doesn't give him the challenge he needs to show his strengths.
Source: J. Kingston Pierce, Amazon.com.
Keough has been at his job in the Mayor's office for a year and he's not happy. He's been involved in more political functions and fund raisers than investigations. But when bodies of pregnant women begin to pile up on the Illinois side of the Mississippi, the Mayor of East St. Louis asks for help. Now out on loan, Keough heads up the search for a serial killer with only a Mark Twain quoting sidekick and young female clerk as his "task force." At the worst possible time his ex-girlfriend, Valerie, comes back into his life with a problem--the little boy, Brady, who tracked bloody footprints into Keough's life in In the Shadow of the Arch, is in trouble. And as if all this weren't enough, Keough is still trying to adjust to the fact that he has diabetes. When an offer to leave St. Louis to join a special state-wide serial killer squad comes his way, Keough has to make a decision that could change his personal and professional life forever. Throughout all this turmoil, Keough works frantically to discover the perpetrator of these increasingly sick and twisted crimes, before another young woman and her unborn baby are killed.
Filled with modern images of St. Louis, Robert J. Randisi spins another thrilling, multi-layered murder mystery.