Tim Maleeny. Jump (2009) 280 pp.
Sam McGowan has been retired from the San Francisco Police Department for exactly one day when Ed Lowry, the landlord of Sam’s downtown San Francisco apartment building, plummets to his death from the twentieth floor. Although it looks like a clear-cut case of suicide, nearly everyone who knew Ed—especially his tenants—seems to have a motive for wanting him dead. Sam, whose wife Marie passed away two years earlier, is a loner whose work had always prevented him from interacting with the other residents. But, he is drawn into the investigation in an unofficial capacity when his former homicide partner, Danny Rodriguez, asks him to get to know his neighbors a little better. The quirky residents of the twentieth floor include: the elderly Gail, who knows everyone and has a fondness for baking cookies; her beau Gus, who is in a lot better physical shape than his advancing years would have one believe; roommates Tamara and Shayla, who are paying their ways through medical school and law school, respectively, by hosting and starring in a soft-core porn website with a live webcam; the “Sandwich Brothers,” Larry and Jerome, who supplement their sandwich delivery service by having cornered the downtown office marijuana market; Jill, a lonely jazz singer and web designer (she built Tamara and Shayla’s site); and, Walter, an overweight B-movie producer who wants to replace Ed as Larry and Jerome’s “silent partner.” To complicate matters, the Mexican mob supplying the weed has decided that it is time to crack down on the brothers and get their full share of the profits. With no shortage of suspects—including Sam himself, who had his own reasons for hating Ed—and more dead bodies turning up, Sam tries to untangle the complicated strands that connect the neighbors to each other before he becomes a victim himself.
Setting: San Francisco (“just a couple blocks from the Ferry Building, in the heart of downtown”)