A Cup Full of Midnight by Jaden Terrell
(from the book jacket)
At thirty-six, private detective Jared McKean is coming to terms with his unjust dismissal from the Nashville Murder Squad and an unwanted divorce from a woman he still loves. Jared is a natural horseman and horse rescuer whose son has Down Syndrome, whose best friend is dying of AIDS, and whose teenaged nephew, Josh, has fallen under the influence of a dangerous fringe of goth subculture. When the fringe group's leader - a mind-manipulating sociopath who considers himself a vampire - is found butchered and posed across a pentagram, Josh is the number one suspect. Jared will need all his skills as a private investigator and former homicide detective to match wits with the most terrifying killer he has ever seen. When he learns that Josh is next on the killer's list, Jared will risk his reputation, his family, and his life in a desperate attempt to save the boy he loves like a son.
This is rather gory and dark. The original murder is truly gruesome and described in some detail. So if you don’t want to hear about entrails this is not for you. The story is filled with suspects that all had good reason to want the murdered man dead and figuring out which one of them got to him first keeps the reader guessing. Jared, the detective, is an interesting figure that has many things going on in his life besides the murder so you get a nice picture of who he is as a whole and not just a one dimensional cop. You even get a good picture of the murdered man even though you never actually get to meet him. The only character I didn’t really understand was the maybe new girlfriend. She seemed shoved in somehow and I can only hope it is setting something up for future books because she seemed out of place here. There are a lot of themes running through this book; love, loss, hate, loyalty, betrayal, vengeance. It even looks at evil in men and the intricate workings of the mind and how it can be manipulated and twisted. And they are all worked in well. The story moves quickly but I wouldn’t call it light reading. It is a hard edged mystery and can get pretty grim at times. Don’t read this if you are depressed. But if you want something more than a cozy mystery this will do the trick.