A decade has passed since Maggie MacGowens last investigation in the pages of Hornsbys award-winning noir series. Gritty and streetwise, yet compassionate, these mysteries appeal to Americas current fascination with realistic crime stories. In the Guise of Mercy shows MacGowen setting out to find a lost boy as a memorial to her detective husband, who was haunted by the case, and as a way to work through her grief and perhaps come to grips with her own demons.
Hornsby says, Ever since the publication of 77th Street Requiem, a story based on the unsolved murder of an LAPD cop, Ive been regularly contacted by the families, colleagues, officials, and participants in this case for which the statute of limitations will never run out. Some of the contacts are intriguing, others profoundly sad, and some are downright spooky. Always, I am struck by the enormity of the emotional burden that murder 34 years ago continues to have on its survivors: a lot of collateral damage. At the same time, a young neighbor disappeared from his college dorm one night, and has never been found, not a trace. In that case, theres also a family stuck in limbo. The story that became In the Guise of Mercy came out of pondering some of the mysteries of life these cases presented.
Wendy Hornsby is the author of eight critically praised and award-winning mysteries, six of them about Maggie MacGowen. She is also a short story Edgar Award winner, and she lives in Southern California, where she is a professor of history at Long Beach City College.