Red Hot Fix: Justice Series, Book 2, by T. E. Moore
The follow-up story to T. E. Moore’s The Fixer, this book picks up with the Seattle Chief of Detectives Mort Grant, who discovered (and ultimately freed) the justice killer of the first book. For the sake of those who haven’t read the first book, I’ll leave her name out of this discussion and we’ll just call her “the fixer”.
There’s a new sadistic serial killer in town, a woman who hog ties her victims and slays them, leaving them on a bed of crushed mothballs. Because she seems to be an outraged prostitute killing her tricks the local press has dubbed her “Trixie”.
Grant makes friends with the head of a group called Children Lost in Prostitution (CLIP) that works to support families that have lost a child to the world of drugs and prostitution. Having worked his career in homicide rather than vice, he hopes that he can gain some insights about the killer’s motivations and personality. Things become complicated when a man is killed with some of the signs of the Trixie killer but the body is missing some details of her MO that have been kept from the press.
Meanwhile The Fixer is living alone. A man to whom she was attracted is now out of her life. She has mixed feelings of loneliness but is also sure that she doesn’t want to ruin his life if she’s exposed. During trips to the library she notices a little girl who seems to be skipping school. Dirty and dressed the same every day the little girl sits in the children’s section reading. The Fixer finds out about the little girl, the daughter of a well-known local oddball. After befriending the little girl she discovers that the girl is being abused and may be on the market as a sex slave. Being The Fixer, it looks like she’ll be taking justice into her own hands again.
As with the first book in the series, Woods fills his book with intriguing characters and fun dialogue. Grant and his partner have an excellent rapport and a teasing relationship, and there’s a scene in which The Fixer stops two boys from picking on the little girl that made me laugh out loud. Even with the light touches Woods maintains plenty of scary moments as The Fixer begins to work on her confrontation and Grant discovers that the real Trixie killer may have kidnapped his son as an act of revenge.
Lots of action and tension without being turned into a bloodbath, the best of all worlds for the serial killer trope. I don’t think you’d hit very many spoilers if you read the books out of order, but for full context it would really help to read The Fixer first. Anyone intrigued by the first book can pick up a five-book bundle containing the first five books in the series in a Kindle edition.