The Prostitutes’ Ball

The Prostitutes’ Ball (Shane Scully series #10) by Stephen J. Cannell

Rating:  * * * *

Shane Scully of the LAPD, lead detective on a triple homicide case at a posh estate, and his new movie-business-obsessed partner, Hitch, uncover details about another triple homicide that occurred at the same estate 25 years prior.

Despite the provocative title, what drew me to this book is the name Stephen J. Cannell.  His name was a familiar sight on TV credits some years ago:  he created/co-created The Rockford Files, 21 Jump Street and many other highly successful series.

This is a well-crafted, suspenseful story within a story.  Really, it’s like a set of nesting dolls:  open one set and find another nesting inside.  Open that, find yet another inside.  Every time I thought I had the plot figured out, it veered.  Just when I was confident Scully was the guy wearing the white hat, he’d be faced with an ethical dilemma and I’d hold my breath and will him to make the right decision – only to realize all was not as it appeared and the whole situation was different than I thought.  I had Hitch categorized in my mind, only to find he didn’t fit the categories into which I tried to squeeze him.

An engrossing tale encompassing murder, drugs, midlife crisis, greed, purpose and lack thereof, motivations personal and business, it unfolds like a 3-act play.  I look forward to reading other books in the Shane Scully series.

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