Humor is important to me and when a book has dialogue that makes me smile, I can't help but mentally add a star. Such is the case here. I smiled a lot.
Max Segal is a homicide detective rooming with a colleague because he's going through a divorce. He likes his wife's lover, Achmed, but he doesn't like that his son, Sam, does, too.
Not only did Achmed bring Sam better presents than Max did, Achmed also had a comradely ease with Sam that Max was unable to achieve. This may have been because Achmed was not also obliged to see to it that Sam ate sufficient protein at mealtimes or remembered to cleanse all bodily orifices during showers or to floss his teeth before bedtime, but it may also have been because comradely ease was not one of Max’s greatest talents. Sam liked Achmed a lot.
When he stops at what appears to be a routine jumper from the 20th floor of a building (proving that humans really do have many feet of intestine,) the local precinct detective pisses him off so much he decides to check it out, maybe see if it was really a homicide and thus fuck up the guy's clearance rate. Turns out the jumper had a phobia of heights to such an extent, she refused to live above the 2nd floor, yet she had supposedly jumped from the 20th.
Max then runs across two other weird cases. One is that of a woman found naked in a deserted pool, the other, another naked woman discovered dead of a heart attack in the Python cage at the zoo. The first was terrified of water, the second of reptiles.
There's little mystery as to who, how, or why these killings have taken place. The interest in the stories comes from the telling and then characters. You have got to love P.J. McCleary, another detective who joins forces with Max. She's this diminutive little thing who can bring a 300lb. boxer swiftly to his knees.
An interesting question one might ask is why the detail of how the killer manages to coerce the victims into succumbing to try their worst nightmares? Is it an attempt to appeal the readers' own desire to dominate? Be interesting to study the different reader responses to those scenes.