Andy Straka's private eye, former policeman Frank Pavlicek, sprang into existence last year in "A Witness Above." His debut in a briskly paced and well constructed mystery was memorable enough to attract not only the attention of readers, but the judging panels of the Agatha Award and the Shamus Award -- it has received nominations from both. Now, in "A Killing Sky." Straka again demonstrates his prowess in another fully satisfying tale starring Pavlicek. He has taken strands from several recent political scandals and woven them into a fresh, new, and completely ingenious plot that is totally plausible and logical. The dialogue and action rings true every step of the way. Pavlicek lives and works in Charlottesville, Virginia, near the Blue Ridge Mountains. He enjoys, along with his buddy Jake Toronto, another ex-cop, the unusual hobby of falconry, a metaphor of sorts for his own search for prey -- and perps. This novel will give an added frisson of pleasure to anyone familiar with Charlottesville, because it uses real sites as backdrops for much of the action. You can easily follow Frank up and down the city streets and out into Albemarle county, lending added verisimilitude to the action. When I first read "A Killing Sky" I was so engrossed that I raced through it at a dead run, eager to know just how the complex plot twists would play out, and who actually "dunnit." Only on second reading did I become aware of and impressed by Straka's careful craftmanship, and how how lean, clean, and muscular his writing is. "A Witness Above" was an imprssive first novel for any author, and "A Killing sky" only seconds the motion.