A Cup Full of Midnight
Review: Nashville PI Jared McKean takes on a seemingly morally indefensible assignment, searching for the killer of a man that molested his teenaged nephew, a man who, given the opportunity, Jared probably would have killed himself, in A Cup Full of Midnight, the second mystery in this series by Jaden Terrell.
Sebastian Parker — known to almost everyone as "Razor" — had been murdered in the most brutal manner, though not brutal enough for Jared. A leader in the local Goth/Vampire scene, he preyed on teenaged youths, luring them in with promises of a better, more fulfilling life. Josh McKean, Jared's 15-year-old nephew, was one of his victims. Unfortunately, he was one of the last to see Razor alive. He pleads with Jared to find Razor's killer before the police can build a case strong enough to arrest him for the murder. Jared is disturbed that Josh still seems to admire and be attracted to Razor, even in death, but can't turn his back on him. The case is made more difficult by a friend of Josh, who has admitted to killing Razor, though the evidence against her is weak. As Jared begins a methodical search for Razor's killer, he realizes he's searching for someone, a very clever someone, who won't hesitate to kill again.
A Cup Full of Midnight is an exceptionally well crafted, intricately plotted mystery with narrative turns that keep the reader both on edge and guessing. The pace is not fast moving at first, mirroring to some degree the reluctance Jared has participating at all. On an emotional level, he'd rather thank the killer than turn them over to the police, though intellectually he knows that cold-blooded murder is never justified, no matter what the circumstances. The number of suspects is not all that large, but each seems to have its own distinct subplot, motive if you will, making it tricky at times to keep track of which narrative details go with which suspect. As the investigation proceeds, however, and Jared becomes more focused, the pace picks up. And as the case draws to a close, Jared realizes that all is not quite what it appears to be.
It is impossible not to be affected by the richly drawn characters here, and their often complicated — if also realistic — interpersonal relationships. And thus some readers may find the final chapters to be rather bleak, which, to be fair, they are. But in many ways they are touching as well, and seem to be the only way this story could have ended, a well considered, strongly written, and really quite powerful conclusion to a most remarkable book.
Acknowledgment: Permanent Press provided an ARC of A Cup Full of Midnight for this review.
Review Copyright © 2012 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in A Cup Full of Midnight: Nashville, Tennessee
— ♦ —
A Cup Full of Midnight by Jaden Terrell — A Jared McKean Mystery
Publisher: Permanent Press
Publication Date: August 2012
List Price: $28.00