"Dead and Gone" is a new crime thriller by Joanna...

"Dead and Gone" is a new crime thriller by Joanna Schaffhausen. Credit: AP

DEAD AND GONE by Joanna Schaffhausen (Minotaur, 336 pp., $28)

A private eye named Sam Tran is dead, hanged from a tree in a local cemetery, and Chicago P.D. Detective Annalisa Vega catches the case. Tran was once on the job himself, but as it turns out, that’s not the only reason the case is fraught.

Vega figures the death is most likely related to a case Tran had been working on, of which there were three. Two are cold cases: A young woman had hired him to discover what happened to her mother, who disappeared more than 30 years ago; and a man had hired him to figure out who killed his cheating wife and her lover in a motel room more than 20 years ago.

However, the third case makes things more than a little awkward for Vega. Her brother, Vincent, had hired Tran to catch a mysterious stalker who had been harassing his daughter, Quinn, and other female students on their college campus. Unsurprisingly, Vega’s first priority is protecting Quinn. This proves problematic since the college is located outside of the Chicago P.D.'s jurisdiction.

“Dead and Gone” is Joanna Schaffhausen’s eighth crime novel — and the third featuring Vega. In it, the author keeps readers guessing by offering a multitude of suspects for the stalking case, both cold cases, and the murder of Tran. Eventually she brings all to a successful conclusion.

Readers of this fine series already know that Vega is not trusted by her colleagues because she once turned in her own father, a retired Chicago cop, for covering up a long-ago murder by another family member. As in every Schaffhausen novel, the suspenseful plot is combined with a thoughtful treatment of family tensions and the toll police work takes on a dedicated officer. The characters, including the many stalking suspects, are well drawn, and the prose is tight and vivid.

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