Thomas J. Thorson‘s Connubial Corpse, the second book in the Malcom Winters series, pulls the reader quickly into the story. Sparse but sufficient backstory clues the reader into what’s gone before. (See my blog post about Thornton’s Heirs Apparent.)
Thorson’s spare prose grabs the reader and drives the story inexorably forward. Who’s killing Asian female university students? Winters gets sucked into the mystery when Lily Cheng, an Asian student Vinn (Winters’ girlfriend) teaches, goes missing. What follows is a chase through Chicago’s Chinatown section. Of course, Winters’ eccentric tenants, Leo and Ted/Rebecca, give an assist. So do another of Vinn’s students and an assortment of offbeat acquaintances of Rebecca. The actions of this motley group set in motion a succession of falling dominoes. Included in these tumbling dominoes are Hop Leung, head of the local tongs, and a severed head.
Malcom and Vinn’s relationship has advanced since the series’ debut. It’s stable enough for Malcom to even have some snarky thoughts about Vinn: about “her off-the-charts intelligence” and “ravishing beauty.” Or better yet, when thinking about the larger size of Vinn’s university office compared to Malcom’s: “She also needs the room to hold her outsized intellect.” (Shades of an unreliable narrator here, maybe?)
Other than some minor grammar glitches (using I and myself instead of me in several instances) and nomenclature of Chinese names, this second outing in the Winters series rolls along. It’s also great fun meeting Leo and Rebecca again. And the assorted secondary characters. Nice pace to the plot and great characterization. I’m looking forward to the follow-up to Connubial Corpse.
I received a free copy of Connubial Corpse from the author. All opinions are my own.
Connubial Corpse: A Malcom Winters Mystery Malcom Winters
Thomas J. Thorson