RED LIGHT (2000)
Two years after the conclusion of THE BLUE HOUR, Merci and her son are living with her father. She's also dating Mike McNally, a respected fellow officer. Merci and Mike are the golden couple on the force, and even if Merci doesn't passionately love him, there's a sort of comfortable inevitability to it all.
But everything explodes when a young prostitute is found brutally murdered and Mike emerges as the primary suspect. The lead investigator on the case, Merci must do the unthinkableexpose and arrest her lover. Sifting through the clues with a growing sense of panic and outrage in her gut, Merci has to work hard to balance where the truth is leading her against where her heart is telling her to go. Meanwhile, an old unsolved case from the sixties is thrown on her deskthe murder of Patti Bailey, another prostitute with ties to the forceand the two cases conspire to turn Merci's world upside down.
Read an excerpt.
Jeff Parker on RED LIGHT
I wanted to see what Merci Rayborn would do following the rather harrowing end of THE BLUE HOUR. So I picked up her story a couple of years later. I'd never written twice about the same character, so this was a challenge. As I thought about the story, I realized that in the previous book, Merci was proven to be brave but rash, smart but not smart enough, tough but ultimately helpless. She was, however, given a great opportunity to learn. So RED LIGHT is about her lessons and whether she's learned them or not. Thus, her confidence is pretty much shot, her heart is broken, her opinions seem useless and her circumstances are now changed by the birth of her son, Tim, Jr. All that, and she's assigned to a case that just gets worse and worse the more she investigates. I wanted a lean, economical style for this one, a single viewpoint character (Merci) and an accelerated, high-velocity story. The one thing I didn't want to do was have Merci lying around and licking her wounds, so she's really working hard from the very beginning of the book. I also wanted to work in the idea that history effects us, whether we understand our history or not. So there's a two-crime structure here: Merci gets a cold case from the 1969 Unsolved file. This takes her back into her own past and that of her family, her county, her department.
Hyperion US hardcover April 2000 ISBN 0786866004
Hyperion US mass-market paperback April 2001 ISBN 0786889756
HarperCollins UK mass-market paperback Aug 2001 ISBN 0007101937
HarperCollins UK trade paperback Jan 2001 ISBN 0007101945
Center Point hardcover (largeprint) July 2003 ISBN 1585473081
Books on Tape cassette Dec 2000 ISBN 0736660690
Nominated for the MWA Edgar Award for Best Novel of 2000.
Tricky plots, driven heroes, runaway action...you get all that in Red Light.
New York Times Book Review
Solidifies his status as one of the most entertaining tough-guy writers.
Parker's latest sizzles along, an infectious blend of atmosphere, action and passion.
An excellent thriller.