Read: Songs of Innocence by Richard Aleas, 2007, 9780843957730.
Good one. This is an original for Hard Case, not a reprint. Good story with a former private detective trying to find out who killed his best friend, a gal student at Columbia University who worked as a hand-job providing masseuse.
John Blake is a geeky looking dude in his twenties who quit being an investigator after too many bad experiences and took an administrative assistant job in the writing department at Columbia University. After Blake's best friend Dorrie does not respond to phone calls and emails, Blake goes to her apartment and finds her dead in her bath; an obvious suicide. But, all her papers and photos from her work life have been shredded and her laptop cleared of any work emails or contacts. Blake and Dorrie had a standing agreement to call one another if they were thinking of acting out a suicide, and since Blake had talked Dorrie out of it before, he is convinced that the suicide is actually a murder and a client did her in.
The novel has quite a bit of plot twists and red herrings. A couple of really bad dudes, creepy massage parlors, bloody altercations, etc. Aleas does a good job with the plot by leading you one way and then swinging you another.
EDIT: I thought this was the same guy who owned Hard Case, Charles Ardai,and it is. The pseudonym threw me off. 15 October 2007