by Clyde Phillips

San Francisco is the type of city that makes for a natural setting
for a murder mystery. The fog-shrouded buildings, the rolling
streets, and the marked diversity of its citizens seem to have been
created expressly for mystery, intrigue, and suspense. Writers from
Dashiell Hammett to Robert B. Parker to D.W. Buffa have used San
Francisco either during part of or the entirety of one or more
novels, and to wonderful effect.

SACRIFICE is the third of Clyde Phillips's novels to feature San
Francisco Police Inspector Jane Candiotti. SACRIFICE is a study in
contrast: it begins with the murder of Philip Iverson, a man
wealthy almost beyond imagining, on the most gratifying night of
his life. It is followed closely by the murder of Willie Temple, a
man whose life has been on a downward spiral for decades.
Candiotti's homicide team --- a team that includes her husband,
detective Kenny Marks --- is assigned to both homicides. Iverson's
murder is given the expected priority, yet Candiotti, despite
pressure from the mayor on down, refuses to simply neglect Temple's
murder, even when there is subtle pressure to do so. As the murders
of both of these very different men are investigated, it is slowly
but painstakingly determined that neither their lives nor their
deaths are quite what they seemed to be.

Candiotti's team, through good, old-fashioned police work, also
discovers the tenuous, random connection between the men that
resulted in the death of one of them, a discovery that places
Candiotti in life-threatening danger from two wholly unexpected
sources. Phillips plays the story out against the stark backdrop of
a city that suffers from a slow internal decay, while nonetheless
maintaining an external beauty and keeping the reader on a roller
coaster ride of suspense. Phillips also continues to develop the
characters, and relationship, of Candiotti and Marks. Their
professional and personal relationships do not always mesh well ---
Nick and Nora, they're not --- but Phillips infuses them with a
willingness to make things work that is at once refreshing and

SACRIFICE continues the tradition that began with FALL FROM GRACE
and BLINDSIDED, while furthering the development and evolution of
Candiotti and Marks. Phillips's ability and inclination to keep his
characters fresh and yet familiar bodes well for future volumes of
this series --- and for Phillips's growing number of readers.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011

by Clyde Phillips

  • Publication Date: July 1, 2003
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • ISBN-10: 0066212375
  • ISBN-13: 9780066212371