"Vigilante: a Shane Scully Novel" (St. Martin's Press), by Stephen J. Cannell: Author and TV series creator Stephen J. Cannell's last novel sends Los Angeles police Detective Shane Scully and his natty partner, Sumner Hitchens, out with a nice mystery that should please fans of the 19-book series.
The prolific writer (he also created or co-created more than 40 TV series including "The Rockford Files" and "The A-Team") gives his ace detective several juicy mysteries to solve.
Scully and Hitch have to find out who killed Lita Mendez, known for her hatred of the police and advocacy for Los Angeles gangs.
As if picking their way through an investigation of other police officers, including the woman who heads up internal investigations, isn't hard enough, they must also deal with "Vigilante TV," a hit reality show that's trying to solve the Mendez murder before they do.
Nixon Nash is the host of "Vigilante TV." He's hot off a season in Atlanta where he beat police in solving crimes and made the officers investigating those crimes look very bad on national television.
Nash always seems to be a step ahead of Scully and Hitch. He also feeds them false leads while staying within the law so he cannot be arrested for interfering with their investigation.
Nash wants Scully to feed him information on the case. Scully refuses, and Nash warns him that he'll be sorry — a warning that seems about to come true.
"Vigilante" is filled with colorful characters. The story moves along speedily, with Scully and Hitchens facing dangerous situations and nerve-racking confrontations.
If the solution hinges on an unlikely clue, it's interesting enough to be forgiven.
Good job, Scully.