BOOK ONE: Several people are killed, and their murders will all go unsolved, at least in this book. The murders are being perpetrated by a killer who calls himself Champion and sprinkles confetti on the corpses of his victims. Through the first part of this book competent veteran detectives work the Champion case and are making progress, but midway through the narrative they are transferred to the police departments of other municipalities. From that point the investigation is led by younger detectives, most of whom are not very good. Families of the victims are asked to be patient.
BOOK TWO: The confetti-covered corpses continue to pile up. The department hires two new detectives, but they provide no help. One new detective is from Croatia, but he can only work on the Champion case after he finishes with another case in Turkey, and that doesn’t happen in this book. The other detective is hired despite having a foot injury that will take a long time to heal, if it ever does. Meanwhile, the few remaining veteran detectives are all transferred to other municipalities. Families of Champion’s victims grumble that the town needs a new police chief. The chief answers that the only way to capture Champion is to build a great police department, and that is what he is doing. He asks the victim’s families to let go of their “solve it now” mentality.
BOOK THREE: The Croatian detective’s friends hint that he is done with his business in Turkey and will come to America to help capture Champion, but he doesn’t. Meanwhile, a new detective arrives in town, and he is not the detective the townspeople wanted, but he is supposed to be pretty good. At this book’s climax, this new detective unholsters his gun and fires a shot at a fleeing suspect who could lead him to Champion, but the shot is blocked by a wall the suspect has ducked behind, and the townsfolk worry that blocked shots will be an ongoing problem for this detective throughout his career. An aging uncle of one of the victims pleads the police chief, “Please, I only have so many years left. Hire some better detectives. I’d like to see an arrest in my lifetime.” The police chief asks the uncle to trust the process.
BOOK FOUR: The Croatian detective finally arrives in America, and the force also hires four new young detectives. The townspeople rejoice with hope as their squad is now stocked with young detectives who have graduated at the top of their academy classes. The problem is that these detectives don’t know how to work with each other, and have never solved a real-life murder. Champion, meanwhile, only grows more practiced and elusive. The book climaxes with Champion reeling off seventeen new unsolved murders in a row.
BOOK FIVE: Nineteen new murders are committed, and it is clear by the middle of the book they will all go unsolved. “Why did he think he had to reinvent the way police departments operate?” asks the uncle, on his deathbed. “Whatever happened to just hiring the best detectives we could afford and letting them work the cases as best they could?” The Croatian detective announces that he wants to work for another municipality or maybe just go home. The police chief, meanwhile, has soured on two of the detectives that were newly hired the previous installment, and sends them away in a deal with gives the municipality the rights to three new detectives from the next class of police academy graduates, which is touted by experts as the most talented academy class in years. The chief promises the irate families that these detectives will surely catch Champion.
NOTE: This first set of five books is really a set-up for a second set of five books, in which the detectives will have a really good chance of capturing Champion, provided all the detectives stay healthy. What do you think? Are you in?