A VISIBLE DARKNESS (Unlicensed Investigator/Ex-Cop-Florida-Cont) – VG King, Jonathon – 2nd in series
Dutton, 2003- Hardcover

Max Freeman is an ex-Philadelphia cop now living in an Everglade swamp shack. He occasionally does investigation for his best friend, attorney Billy Manchester. In this case, Billy suspects someone is killing elderly black women who sold their life insurance policies to investors. Although the police have declared the deaths to be natural causes, Max soon agrees that things are not as they seem.

There are a couple small weaknesses in this book: you know the killer, which does lessen the suspense, and the protagonist is physically described by seeing himself in a mirror. But I forgive those flaws as King has created a story which builds layer upon layer, showing the motive for the killings and who is behind them. The book is full of interesting characters, including Max and Billy, about whom we learn more in this second book, Det. Sherry Richards, drug dealers and gang members. The story of Max’s father’s death and the friendship between his and Billy’s mother is almost a mystery within the mystery. King’s description of Florida, particularly the contrast between being in the city or on the water, is particularly effective. This is starting off as a very good series and I’m pleased to see there are more books waiting for me.

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