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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Heat of the Knight is a murder mystery novel written by Tom Howard. Detectives Richard Knight and Ian Brooks couldn’t help but notice the lurid details of the murder of a young legal secretary that were headlining the daily papers. While they had their own private investigation chores lined up, they also noticed that the murder was in the 16th precinct, their old stomping ground. Their musings were interrupted by the arrival of a potential client who announced that she needed them to solve her sister’s murder. Scarlet Thomas was bringing them a cold case, however, and she described her fruitless efforts to get any precinct involved. It had been one year, three months, and twelve days since Chelsea Rodriguez was found slain in her apartment. What made both Knight and Brooks sit up and take notice were the similarities between this cold case murder and the current case regarding the murder of Bethany Rain, a law school student and legal secretary.
Tom Howard’s Heat of the Knight is a cut above the vast majority of the police procedural and private eye novels out there because the author's two detectives seem to embrace the best of each genre. We experience their police training while appreciating the benefits and independence they have by working for themselves. We see how they approach each problem and challenge that they face, and their unique roles as somewhere between private eye and police detective make the resolutions unique and worth following. Howard’s characters are deftly honed, and their interactions are a joy to behold. His New York City setting is authentic and had me wishing a number of times for a slice of New York’s best pizza. His plot is complex and carefully crafted, and apt to keep armchair sleuths busily considering their options. Heat of the Knight is fast-paced and exciting, and it’s most highly recommended.