Deeply affected by the events of his last case (detailed in 2004's Little Girl Lost), John Blake has eschewed the detective business and become an administrative assistant at Columbia. Songs of Innocence opens with the news that one of Blake's classmates in a writing workshop, Dorrie Burke, has committed suicide. Dorrie's mother doesn't believe the reports and tries to hire Blake to find out who killed Dorrie. He refuses.
Blake has already learned a great deal about Dorrie as part of a cooperative writing assignment. He knows she made her living as a prostitute and contemplated suicide from time to time. They had promised each other, in fact, that whenever suicidal thoughts came to mind they'd call each other, talk it out. Because Dorrie hadn't called John, he begins to look into who killed her on his own.
A common thread in Aleas's work is that everything has consequences. Blake is not the seen-it-all hero who dismisses death and moves on. Concern for Dorrie draws him in, and as he digs deeper, it becomes impossible to walk away unscathed. Blake is truly not the man in the end that he was in the beginning, and Aleas's crisp prose paces his transformation perfectly.
On sale since July, Songs of Innocence is DetecToday's featured novel for September. DetecToday members will chat with the author on Thursday, September 20, 7:00-8:00 PM Eastern.