Inspector Alastair Ransom, Chicago PD is back, pulled from a poker game when his snitch is found murdered in a back alley. The seemingly unimportant victim comes to full-blown life and recognition as Alastair uncovers the clues to his murder.
With each new revelation, Henry Bosch, aka Dot'n'Carry (due to the sound of his wooden leg) becomes more real to Ransom than when he was alive. The old veteran of the Civil War, town drunk, gambler, hobo and storyteller, who'd become a staple of life on Chicago's streets, in death, becomes Inspector Ransom's latest obsession, and far more than just another case to be solved. Serpents slither in and out of the ongoing case, as do the women in Ransom's life.
Said to be the best Inspector Ransom yet, the loss of his snitch, Henry Bosch, does more to soften Ransom than even Ransom could have imagined. However, by end of the story to catch Bosch's killer or killers, Ransom himself is implicated in as series of murders, and going to trial for a third time on such charges holds no charm for either Alastair or his lover, Dr. Jane Tewes. Or for any of his close friends for that matter,as all of his closest supporters are gravely concerned - Philo Keane, his crime photographer, Dr. Christian Fenger, Chicago Medical Examiner and Surgeon, Thom Carmichael, journalist, Dr. Gabrielle Tewes, Assistant ME and Jane's daughter, and finally, Dr. Jane Tewes, Surgeon and love of Ransom's life.
All the principle players are back in a story that leads into Ransom's eventually finding himself on the doomed ship Titanic, as this fifth book in the City Series takes Ransom to the already published sixth title in series - Titanic 2012 - Curse of RMS Titanic, wherein Ransom rides the Titanic to the bottom of the sea to effectively end the series at six books. Begun with City for Ransom, Shadows in the White City, City of the Absent, City of Lies, now City of Serpents, and finally Titanic 2012, the books are best enjoyed in that order.