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Paint It Black    by P. J. Parrish order for
Paint It Black
by P. J. Parrish
Order:  USA  Can
Pinnacle, 2002 (2002)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Detective Louis Kincaid gets around - from Mississippi in Dark of the Moon, to the 'winter wonderland' of Loon Lake, Michigan in Dead of Winter, and now to fictional Sereno Key, Florida in this episode. He's out of work and his Mississippi ex-boss, retired to Florida, has found him an investigative job for a lawyer. Kincaid stays with Dodie and wife Margaret in a modest neighborhood of the key.

Even before the detective landed, the author had introduced the reader to the story's serial killer, who beats a black victim brutally after incapacitating him, and mislays a can of paint. Of course, one victim does not satisfy him. In the meantime, Kincaid meets the local lawman, Dan Wainwright, retired from the FBI. As the killings escalate, Wainwright enlists Kincaid's help with his investigation, in an attempt to avoid handing it off to the incompetent sheriff.

Paint It Black is essentially a police procedural, in which the investigators follow many false leads, and deal with inter-group rivalry and disagreement on approach, as the killer keeps to his own schedule, striking every Tuesday. There is a feisty female FBI agent, with expertise in profiling, who partners briefly with Kincaid. And the latter has his own doubts and past demons to deal with, as he discovers more about the bad guy's background.

I enjoy Louis Kincaid and picked up his latest adventure with enthusiasm. Though I found the pace lagged occasionally in Paint It Black, the serial killer premise was an interesting one that led to some insights for the protagonist into his own past. And, after Mississippi, Michigan and Florida, it will be fun to see where Kincaid heads next.

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