Anthony Flacco. The Last Nightingale: A Novel of Suspense (2007) 258 pp. [tpo]
On April 18, 1906, the city of San Francisco is rocked to its foundations by the Great Earthquake. But that is just the beginning of the nightmares facing twelve-year-old Shane Nightingale. Shane survives the quake only to witness the horrific murder of his adoptive mother and two sisters at the hands of Tommie Kimbrough. Kimbrough is a budding serial killer whose previous victims had been members of the Barbary Coast riff-raff. After the fire destroys the Nightingale home, all evidence of the killings is erased and Shane becomes just another anonymous orphan in the city. Before the quake, Sergeant Randall Blackburn of the San Francisco Police Department had been on the trail of the Barbary Coast killer, nicknamed “The Surgeon” for the mutilation he performs on the bodies of his victims. When Blackburn meets up with Shane, the two become an unlikely detective duo. Shane has an unusual sense of intuition and deductive reasoning and Blackburn is experimenting with new methods of police work. Together they track the killer. But will they find Kimbrough before he realizes that Shane saw him in the act? Or will Kimbrough finish the job he started in the aftermath of disaster and eliminate the last Nightingale?
Setting: San Francisco