Marcus McGee. Murder From the Grave (2009) 425 pp. [tpo]
While investigating a murder crime scene, San Francisco police find a letter addressed to the highly-respected and clever Inspector Deuteronomy Saint Claire, who is at odds with the citys top brass for not sharing information over a career of twelve years. The letter is from a serial killer who tells Saint Claire that, despite being dead and in a grave for the last twelve days, he will murder seven people over the next thirty days. Because the planned murders are interdependent, with each killing setting off the next, the killer dares the secretive detective to either stop him or proclaim his genius to the world. Former Berkeley criminal psychology professor Saint Claire, convinced the letter is from the same killer who murdered his son, cautiously accepts the premise and the challenge. By preventing any one of the planned murders, Saint Claire can interrupt the sequence and save lives, but only if the killers claim to murder from the grave is true. Using clues from the letter and crime scenes, the detective is determined to defeat the killer, and if his instincts prove true, solve the murder of his son.
Setting: San Francisco; Oakland; Berkeley