Bones of the Barbary Coast
The skeleton of a victim of the 1906 earthquake is uncovered during a San Francisco historic home remodel and is dubbed the “wolfman” by forensic anthropologists due to the bones’ unusual characteristics. Paranormal psychologist and investigator Cree Black is called in by Bert Marchetti, old family friend and SFPD homicide inspector, to work on the wolfman case. Bert believes the case may be related to present-day homicides, but Bert’s involvement is more complex and dangerous than he lets on to Cree. The setting moves between 1889 and present-day San Francisco through the diary of Lydia Schweitzer, a Victorian woman whose many secrets may include the wolfman.
This is the third in the Cree Black series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. Hecht has created an eerie thriller/mystery, with perfect ambience and excellent characterization. His writing style is certainly more literary and thought-provoking than is usual for the genre, and Hecht delves into human nature with the precision of a pathologist’s scalpel. Though the reader may not be entirely satisfied by how the tension is resolved, the tension is delicious in and of itself and makes this novel a real page-turner. Recommended.