By Bill Cameron
In the sixties, Harry Stein was the foremost authority on cannabis; writing the book on indoor cultivation, inventing thirteen different hybrids, and planting “Victory Gardens” across America behind police precincts, legislature courtyards, and legendarily in the rose garden of the Nixon White House.
When the steadfast Ruby Jane Whittaker drops out of sight, dogged ex-cop Skin Kadash sets out to discover what drove the woman he loves to leave her life behind so suddenly and without explanation. The discovery of a dead man in her apartment, followed by an attack by a mysterious stalker, leads Skin first to California, then across the country on a desperate journey deep into Ruby Jane’s haunted past — and toward an explosive confrontation which will determine if either has a future.
“Contemporary sharp-edged noir doesn’t get much better than Cameron’s mournful third novel featuring ex-cop Skin Kadash (after 2010’s Day One). Kadash, who’s recovering from a serious gunshot wound, returns to Portland, Ore., to reboot his relationship with on-and-off lover Ruby Jane Whittaker, the owner of a coffee shop chain. When he’s unable to reach Whittaker, a desperate Kadash goes to her apartment, only to find the corpse of an elderly man in her bathtub. Aided by Peter McKrall, who also was involved with Whittaker, Kadash follow tenuous leads to find her, a search made more urgent by a murder. At one point, the narrative flashes back almost 20 years, to provide Whittaker’s tragic backstory, which continues to reverberate in the present. The twists flow naturally from what the reader has learned about the characters, though it’s clear Kadash has hidden facets Cameron has yet to explore.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)