The third in the Roland March crime series, this one lives up to my expectations, and more. A compelling story with great characters, many of them friends from Back on Murder or Pattern of Wounds. More than ever, this story has March living up to his namesake, the hero Roland who fails to sound the horn until the enemy has overtaken him and the Peers. Throw in a Dante-inspired plot-- March descends, with the help of Beatrix (!), into the hell of betrayal and double-cross, to "climb over the Devil's back"-- and you have a thriller rich with deeper themes and allusions.
While this fits well within the Noir genre, I couldn't help thinking throughout that this dark tale is told in the midst of a very generous character study. March's (wiser) eyes are not as jaded or as fearful as they were when first we met, and his appraisals of those around him are generous and almost filled with grace. Likewise, the characters on the fringes bring brightness and grace to the sordid world of murder and betrayal.
I thoroughly enjoyed the journey, and I'm already looking forward to hearing from March, and Mark Bertrand, again!