Detective hunts psychopathic killer in Sixties San Francisco

Hands up if you remember when the Haight-Ashbury was THE place to be. Well, it was a magical time, let me tell you — before it went bad. Peter Moreira’s detective novel, set shortly after the Summer of Love, finds detective Jimmy Spracklin trying to solve a series of brutal murders in The Haight. Spracklin is a terrific tough-guy detective. Of course he is flawed. His marriage is in trouble, partly because he is fiercely committed to his job. And he is desperate to find his teenage stepdaughter, who disappeared into the District some months before. Moreira sets his eventful crime novel against the larger political landscape, as Spracklin is also a Kennedy Democrat hoping that Senator Bobby Kennedy will give his career a boost. The author builds the stakes with every twist and turn, and when the daughter takes up with a psychopathic killer, Spracklin’s quest becomes a race against time. Highly recommended for those who enjoy a cracking good detective story — or for anyone who remembers when the Haight was the centre of the universe.

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