SJ Rook came to Harlem to re-build a life. You hit bottom, the only way out is up, right? Nice home, nice job, nice girl. With a few breaks, a hard-luck private eye can land on his feet, even if his balance is still shaky. But now that cozy home has turned deadly.
Harlem is frigid the night Rook arrives home to find his own apartment building is a crime scene. With his pal NYPD Detective Archie Lin working the case, Rook joins the investigation into the death of his neighbor. Nomie George was a gentle, unassuming city bureaucrat, with few friends and no apparent enemies. Minding her own business, following government rules, and hoarding her skimpy paycheck were Nomie's chief pleasures. But a frosty fifteen-story plunge ended her life. Could her lonely death be a suicide? Or might a brutal murderer be on the loose?
As winter nights pile up, Rook's investigative leads turn as murky as black ice. Then he and Lin are stunned when another gruesome murder lands even closer to home: in the backyard of Rook's own detective agency. His bosses, the father-daughter duo of Norment and Sabrina Ross, run a local fix-it service with Harlem as their beat. Ross Agency cases usually involve those neighborhood events or personal affairs where tensions run high and violence bubbles just under the surface. This quirky team of private eyes handles intimate matters and little mysteries the police consider beneath their interest or beyond their abilities.
Murder isn't his beat, but the second death draws Rook even deeper into the investigation of Lin's frozen cold case. With Archie distracted by a budding love affair, Rook's romance with Sabrina Ross stumbles, as old habits cause new problems. Adding to his troubles are a wily gangster who's greedy for power, a storefront preacher digging for earthly rewards, and a baffled roommate who knows too much... and too little. Rook races against time to solve this case before the ruthless killer strikes again. Must he compromise his friendships to protect a neighbor? Will he sacrifice his own happiness to catch a serial murderer? Or will the mountain of blues rising around Rook bring disaster to everyone he knows?
In this third novel in the exciting character-driven mystery series, Rook learns the hard way that in Harlem, security is a sometime thing. One minute you're cruising, with a roof over your head, a warm drink in your hand, and the woman of your dreams beside you. But in a single deadly twist, tragedy can strike: your luck is frozen and your fate is on ice. Slip up in Harlem and you could find yourself black and blue all over again....