Usually, a police procedural compromises some facet of storytelling. Character development must be sacrificed to pacing and plotting, or forensic detail must be displaced by rapid-fire action sequences. But Sergeant Joe Dartelli is a captivating personality enmeshed in a balanced, suspenseful, and intelligently scripted serial murder mystery.
What makes this mystery so different is that many of its secrets are held within Dartelli's mind. From the opening pages, Joe is haunted by a supposed suicide case, the mysterious "Ice Man," who he suspects could be linked to his old mentor. Afraid of the truth, Joe struggles to explain away a new suicide while we watch the facts unfold within him. As an added treat, Ridley Pearson displays remarkable computer savvy as Dartelli's old flame, Ginny, hacks her way through to some of the most crucial parts of the puzzle. The author is not afraid to linger on small details--a woman's earrings or the temperature of a corpse--but he rarely overindulges in such description. Rather, he has written an excellent piece of fiction that happens to be a police thriller. Pearson, author of such previous works as No Witnesses, has produced a minor suspense masterpiece in Chain of Evidence. --Patrick O'Kelley