Civil War veteran L.D. Cade arrives in 1870s San Francisco, seeking his fortune and a place to end his restless wandering. A job as bodyguard to a flashy real estate speculator seems like just the opportunity he's been looking for. But beneath the glitter and glamour of Gilded Age San Francisco lie festering greed, corruption, and intolerance. It's a dangerous place for an honest man, even one who's as good with a gun as Cade. As he makes his way between the decadent chaos of the notorious Barbary Coast, the luxurious mansions of Russian Hill, and the secretive societies of Chinatown, Cade will face vicious and sadistic enemies, find allies in unexpected places, and encounter a pair of enigmatic women who will change his life forever.
Rhoades [...] stretches his wings here with his first historical thriller ... Rhoades displays a sensitive touch with the historical material here, building strong characters from the people of color in his cast without downplaying the very real racial hatred of the era. Plenty of action, too, in what appears to be a series launch starring Cade and Clayborne.
The plot twists and turns throughout the narrative, leading to a violent conclusion that could go in any number of directions --- and does --- before coming to a surprising and satisfying end. Rhoades expertly weaves into the mix the tumultuous cultural and societal elements that were present at the time, making them an important part of the storyline rather than randomly inserting them to demonstrate that he has established his research bona fides ... The Killing Look may be a stand-alone work, but it also feels like the jumping-off point for a series. That would be a great thing, and I hope that Rhoades sees fit to make that happen.