Frank Beck, a man with terminal colon cancer, a new divorce, and a stack of debts, hangs himself. It's an open-and-shut suicide--except for a string of numbers inscribed on Beck's right arm. Minneapolis Homicide Detective Marshall Bahr can't make sense of the numbers or the fact that a guy everyone describes as sloppy tied a perfect hangman's noose for himself. But then he uncovers an obscure fact in the dead man's ancestry--a connection to the Battle of Gettysburg--and to make sense of its bearing on this homicide, he needs to understand ninety seconds of action at the end of this historical battle.
Mars and his partner Nettie Frisch begin to theorize based on the idea that this death-by-hanging just might be related to the Civil War. Then, another body turns up and before Mars can even believe it's true, they're are on the trail of a serial killer whose motive seems to be related to a contemporary controversy about Gettysburg and the descendents of the First Minnesota Volunteers, the legendary northern regiment who turned the tide against the Confederacy on that fateful day.
In this enormously compelling follow-up to Third Person Singular, KJ Erickson delivers a top-notch police procedural full of twists and turns, pitting a relentless cop against an equally determined killer.