In 1985 three separate murders, the bodies of teenagers named Otto, Ava and Eve are all found in community gardens throughout the Washington D.C. The media dubs these killings The Palindrome Murders their names read the same way backwards or forwards. The police secretly call the killer The Night Gardener and because the killing stopped after these three murders the cases are never solved.
Now twenty years later Asa Johnson is found murdered in another community garden and since detective Gus Ramone’s own fourteen year old son knew Asa he and his partner Rhonda assist in the investigation. Because of the clear connection, also interested in solving the case is retired detective T.C. Cook who was the lead in the 1985 investigation and Daniel “Doc” Holiday, a former detective who resigned from the police force when he became a suspect in an internal affairs investigation.
The three form an uneasy alliance and together gather up the clues that tie the murder to a street war over money and a woman but will it solve the murders both old and new?
Pelecanos is such a talented character writer. In the past few months I’ve read three of his books and I always become so engrossed in the lives of the main characters that by the end of the book I feel like I know them inside and out. He perfectly captures the intensity of the detectives, the angst of Ramone’s teenage son and the harshness of the thugs.
The storyline was well developed and it had an ending I could never have predicted. After reading these three Pelecanos books I can say that I am definitely a new fan of this author and I’m definitely going to be reading more by him. This is a recommended read for mystery lovers.