“Flor de Muerto” After the soul-crushing events of “Bullet’s Kiss,” disfigured cop Greg Hettinger leaves Philly and checks into a Southern California rehab clinic. But a plane ride can’t separate Greg from his troubles. A fellow patient believes her former drug dealer (and lover) has sent someone to kill her, and it’s up to Greg to figure out which member of their circle is preparing to pull the trigger…
This story picks up an undetermined amount of time after the events of the previous issue. As the promotional synopsis says, Greg has gone down to California to check into a drug rehab there, still trying to kick his addiction to the painkillers. Part of his therapy are regular group sessions with the other patients at the clinic, two women and two other men. We see one of their sessions where it’s clear that the rules are no full-names, just first names and last initials, and no explicit details about their personal lives, including what they do or did for a living. But one day, of the women, Elisa, approaches him. She says she’s guessed that he’s a police officer, and wants his help. She thinks that the drug cartel that she says got her hooked on drugs (all she’ll say is “junk”) has hired someone to kill her, and that it may be one of the other patients. Greg tries to blow her off at first, saying this isn’t what he’s here for, plus he doesn’t even know if she’s telling the truth, but as he later puts it, his cop-brain won’t turn off once it gets started. So late at night, he puts on his Black Hood and starts investigating.
Is Elisa telling the truth, or are these just drug-fuelled delusions of hers? And if it is the truth, will Greg find the killer in time? Read the book to find out.
While this story is labeled as a “one-shot” and it does tell a complete story, it is something that hints at possible further ramifications for Greg down the road. And I have to confess, although I don’t want to spoil it, I honestly guessed what the outcome of this story would be before it was even halfway through. So, not writer Duane Swierczynski’s most creative story, to say the least. And, also, while I generally am a big fan of guest-artist Howard Chaykin, I don’t think his style really fits the tone of this series. Overall it just feels a little too, I don’t know, bright? The Black Hood, as judged from the first arc, works best in the shadows, and this is on a beach in sunny California. This issue just didn’t feel like it fit with the 5 issues that preceded it.
Chacebook rating: 3 STARS