James Hayman’s new McCabe and Savage thriller, “The Girl on the Bridge,” showcases his signature hall-of-mirrors plotting prowess. Clues are salted in early, but they have few hard edges and are easily overlooked – though they’re in plain sight.

Halfway into the who-done-it, where readers typically presume the killer has been introduced, it’s impossible to trust that assumption. You won’t be alone. Detectives Michael McCabe and Maggie Savage share the same feeling of being at a dead end.

In the prologue, Hannah Reindel, an attractive college freshman, is gang-raped at a frat-house party. Twelve years later in Chapter 1, still deeply psychologically damaged, she leaps from a bridge on a winter’s night to end the torment.

A month later, Joshua Thorne, one of her rapists, now a successful New York City investment banker, goes missing while on a business trip to Portland, Maine. His wife receives an emailed photo of him blindfolded, naked and bound on a bed with a cardboard sign on his chest reading, “Rapists Get What Rapists Deserve.” Portland Police Department detectives McCabe and Savage are assigned the case.

Thorne has been seduced at a popular Portland nightspot by an attractive, expensively dressed blonde. He’s had sex and been tied to the bed. He’s also been doped and is unconscious. Thorne’s wife Rachel flies to Portland from New York City with her lawyer brother to prompt the local police to find her missing husband.

McCabe and Savage soon discover, however, that another one of the long-ago college-boy rapists, the CEO of an insurance company, has been found dead at the bottom of a cliff in Connecticut. Suspecting his death could be the beginning of a string of revenge killings, McCabe and Savage feel it’s imperative to find the killer before more bodies turn up.

Somewhere in Portland, Thorpe comes to, finding himself tied up on a bed. He raises hell screaming for help. Eventually someone enters the room and removes his blindfold so he can have a last look at his tormentor before he is horribly murdered.

McCabe and Savage pursue all apparent angles of motive, means and opportunity. This involves a trip to New Hampshire to interview the dead rape victim’s bereaved husband, Evan Fischer.

Slowly, pieces are threaded together, and major elements of the complex plotting of the murders begin to come to light. But resolution remains elusive. McCabe and Savage come to radically different conclusions, based on evidence and individual instincts and conjecture.

Hayman’s deft plotting weakens here with the arguments and counterarguments that McCabe and Savage bat back and forth. Surprisingly, too much is given away through the clumsy logic one of them uses, making it fairly easy to discern who is on the money and who’s not.

It’s unfortunate, because the climax is dependent on continuing uncertainty about the identity of the killer.

Except for this one scene near the end, there is much to admire about “The Girl on the Bridge.” Hayman, who lives in Portland, is masterful at creating compelling police procedurals, evident here and in his earlier McCabe and Savage thrillers. And he writes with surety, planting clues in plain sight but certain his readers won’t see them.

It’s quite a trick, a sleight of hand – leading them to make false assumptions that will blind them to the end.

Crime pays in Hayman’s hands. Fortunately for us, it’s of the literary kind.

Frank O Smith is a Maine writer whose novel, “Dream Singer,” was named a Notable Book of the Year in Literary Fiction in 2014.