Archive for the ‘Police Procedural’ Category

The Enemy Within-Kristine Kathryn Rusch

April 2, 2014

The Enemy Within
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
WMG, Apr 1 2014, $18.99
ISBN: 9780615906270

Following the JFK assassination and its bungled aftermath, police departments throughout the country are on edge as none want the notoriety of DPD. In Manhattan’s West Side, NYPD Detectives O’Reilly and McKinnon are at a double murder scene with a third corpse of a limousine driver nearby. The two cops identify the victims as FBI Associate Director Clyde A. Tolson and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

New York Regional Office Special Agent In Charge Eugene Hart pulls Agent Francis Bryce off of a suicide investigation tied to another Fed but that Frank knows he inadvertently caused by foolishly following the book. Frank heads to contain the NYPD inquiry into the homicides of the agency’s top two men; as his assignment is to find the killer but also trample on the locals to keep them out of what Hart insists is an internal matter. To his horror, Frank uncovers clues tying the murders to the suicide.

The Enemy Within is a superb what if police procedural as Kristine Kathryn Rusch catches the essence of efforts by law enforcement at all levels to avoid being labeled as another DPD. Filled with remorse for his poor handling that led to the suicide and with a need to know the truth, Bryce is an intriguing protagonist who receives several warnings not to dig to deep. Fast-paced from the moment the NYPD cops identify the victims, fans will appreciate this taut thriller as corruption at all levels of government leads to a need for a cover-up that makes a bad situation much worse.

Harriet Klausner


The Cold Nowhere-Brian Freeman

April 2, 2014

The Cold Nowhere
Brian Freeman
Quercus, Apr 1 2014, $26.99
ISBN: 9781623651312

A decade ago when Catalina Mateo was six years old, she cowered in hiding while hearing the still haunting sounds of her father carving up her mother before he killed himself. The murder-suicide left Cat in permanent trauma as the now teen turned to drugs and prostitution but never escaped the nightmare of that gruesome day.

When Cat realizes her paranoid belief someone stalks her is not fueled by the horror or drugs, she remembers heroic Jonathan Stride promising to keep her mom safe. Though he failed them, Cat turns to the Duluth Police Lieutenant. He finds her half-frozen in his cabin’s closet. Stride’s partner Maggie Bei warns him not to get involved emotionally as she believes Cat being a chip off the paternal block viciously stabbed her shrink. Whether or not it is guilt driving him, Stride investigates Cat’s claim only to find evidence affirming her assertion.

The latest Jonathan Stride Minnesota police procedural (see The Burying Place, In The Dark and Immoral) is a fantastic inquiry as the case and the frozen background make for a strong mystery. The tension between Stride and Bei especially over Cat enhance the terrific taut storyline.

Harriet Klausner

Under Cold Stone: A Constable Molly Stone Mystery-Vicki Delany

April 2, 2014

Under Cold Stone: A Constable Molly Stone Mystery
Vicki Delany
Poisoned Pen, Apr 1 2014, $24.95
ISBN 9781464202353

Lucky Smith and Trafalgar, British Columbia Chief Constable Paul Keller enjoy a meal together at a restaurant in Banff, Alberta when two bullies accost customers and staff. Lucky rips into the punks while Paul stares in horror as one of them is his estranged son Matt. Soon after the nastiness, near hysterical Matt calls his dad for help as there is a corpse in his apartment. Paul and Lucky arrive to find the body but no Matt. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sergeant Eddie Blechta believes by fleeing into the wilderness Matt committed murder.

In response to her widow mom Lucky’s plea, Trafalgar Constable Molly Smith drops all she is doing to get ready for Thanksgiving to come to Banff; while Sergeant John Winters stays at home to deal with a potentially violent protest against development Grizzly Resort. Molly meets Matt’s low-esteemed girlfriend Tracey McMillan who asks her to help him as she believes her BF is innocent. Although she knows to stay out of the local investigation, Molly follows Matt into the wilderness.

The fabulous seventh Constable Molly Smith Canadian police procedural (see A Cold White Sun) is a strong entry as family ties complicate the Banff case. As enjoyable is the latest front in the war between environmentalists and developers exploding back home though Winters does a great job trying the impossible to reduce the tension before someone gets hurt. Fast-paced, readers will appreciate this exciting entry.

Harriet Klausner

Children of the Revolution-Peter Robinson

March 29, 2014

Children of the Revolution
Peter Robinson
Morrow, Mar 25 2014, $25.99
ISBN: 9780062240507

In Coverton, retired schoolteacher Margery Halton was walking her dog when the canine came across the corpse of reclusive Gavin Miller under a railroad bridge. Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks leads the investigation in which suicide has not been ruled out; as Miller lived alone in a hovel ever since Eastvale College fired him in scandalous disgrace from his lecturer position. Neither has homicide been eliminated as some of his injuries look like they occurred in a brawl with an assailant but a robbery did not happen as the deceased possessed 5000 pounds on him.

Banks, assisted by DI Annie Cabot and DC Gerry Masterson, makes inquiries into Miller’s recent and distant past as motive for the murder remains elusive. The police especially focus on two young ladies whose accusations led to the lecturer’s dismal from Eastvale.

The latest DCI Banks British police procedural (see Watching the Dark) is an entertaining whodunit in which the leisurely-paced storyline contains less action than usual, but replaced by a more cerebral approach (especially several interviews) to solving the murder mystery. The hero is irascible and independent as he ignores his boss who begins bantering the dreaded R word (retirement) to him. As always readers can bank on Peter Robinson for an enjoyable tale.

Harriet Klausner

The Coal Black Asphalt Tomb-David Handler

March 27, 2014

The Coal Black Asphalt Tomb
David Handler
Minotaur, Mar 25 2014, $25.99
ISBN 9781250041975

Recently elected as Dorset, Connecticut’s first female selectwoman, Glynis Fairchild-Forniaux implements her plan to re-grade and widen Dorset Street in the town’s Historical District over the objection of many of the local Old Guard led by former long-time selectman Bob Paffin. When the work begins, the crew uncovers a corpse in a shredded U.S Navy uniform.

Connecticut State Trooper Resident Des Mitry leads the investigation into the death of Paffin’s older brother Lance, who vanished over forty seven years ago without a trace because he obviously was interred under the street in front of the Congregational Church since 1967. With help from her lover NYC movie critic Mitch Berger, Mitry questions many of the town’s leading older citizens; but Paffin, Gazette newspaper publisher Buzzy Shaver, and U.S. Congressman Luke Cahoon offer nothing; while the many females that Vietnam War hero Lance the womanizer victimized also remain silent. The case remains frozen, but Mitry refuses to resign herself that the code of silence will leave this unsolved.

The latest Berger and Mitry regional police procedural (see The Snow White Christmas Cookie and The Blood Red Indian Summer) is a wonderful twisting New Englander whodunit as the Dorset Brahmin close ranks refusing to cooperate. Mitry is at her obstinate intimidating Amazonian best refusing to give up; while Berger provides wry commentary on movies and elitist townsfolk. The strong case resolution is fresh in part due to help from unexpected individuals, but mostly because the dynamic opposites attract couple is at the top of their game.

Harriet Klausner

Hotel Brasil-Frei Betto; Jethro Soutar (translator)

March 18, 2014

Hotel Brasil
Frei Betto; Jethro Soutar (translator)
Bitter Lemon, Mar 18 2014, $14.95
ISBN 9781908524270

In Rio de Janeiro, the rundown Hotel Brasil caters to singles; at least that is what proprietor Dona Dinó claims. The regulars residing in this dump include wannabe telenovela actress Rosaura dos Santos; political hack Rui Pacheco; reporter Marcelo Braga; transformed due to age restrictions from hooking to pimping Madame Larência; transformista nightclub entertainer Diamante Negro; former professor and present collaborator with anthropologist Mônica Kundali on a book (though he craves a different collaboration) Cândido Oliviera; and gemstone seller Seu Marçal.

The family like camaraderie shatters when someone decapitates Marçal before removing his eyes. Delagacia da Lapa Police Chief Delegado Olinto Del Bosco sarcastically interrogates and accuses the owner, the residents and caretaker Jorge Maldonado as the murderer. Del Bosco arrests only Maldonado as the easiest for him to get away with a brutal beat down until he breaks and confesses.

Although a Brazilian police procedural, Hotel Brasil reads more like a fascinating character study of a different side of Rio than typically depicted. The ensemble cast is solid with their background cleverly darkly satirizing stereotypes and as a group lampooning the Agatha Christie country house mystery subgenre in a South American urban setting. Readers who appreciate something different in their whodunits will enjoy this entertaining suspense.

Harriet Klausner

The Dead of Summer-Mari Jungstedt; Tiina Nunnally (translator)

March 16, 2014

The Dead of Summer
Mari Jungstedt; Tiina Nunnally (translator)
Stockholm Text, Mar 11 2014, $14.95
ISBN: 9789187173981

Two boys playing in the water off Gotland Island’s Sudersand Beach find a corpse floating nearby. The victim did not drown, but instead was shot several times in the abdomen and once in the head. While DCI Anders Knutas vacations with his family for two weeks in Denmark, Assistant DCI Karin Jacobssen heads the investigation; but calls her boss to inform him of the murder as he required of her. Over the objection of his wife Lina and though he trusts his assistant, bored workaholic Anders uses the murder as an excuse to leave his family in Denmark to return to Gotland to lead the inquiry.

Though diligently working the inquiry, the police uncover nothing while neither does reporter Johan Berg. At the same time, a Russian tanker arrives with a crew known for illegalities and soon afterward, a second homicide occurs. Having made no progress on the first murder, Knutas seeks the connection between the two victims as the means to solving the case.

Overall the fifth Gotland Swedish police procedural (see Killer’s Art, Unspoken, Unseen and The Inner Circle) is an enjoyable whodunit. Much of the storyline focuses on the relationships between the key players (Johan with Emma, their daughter and his photographer; and Karin with Knutas) rather than on the investigation. When the fascinating case takes front and center; the police and the journalist are stymied on solving the homicides; while fans ironically know much more.

Harriet Klausner

Murder In The Worst Degree-F. M. Meredith

March 16, 2014

Murder In The Worst Degree
F. M. Meredith
Dark Oak Mysteries, Jan 23 2014, $12.95
ISBN: 9781610091459

In Southern California, two surfers riding a wave share the trip with a corpse. Rocky Bluff PD Police Officer Gordon Butler responds to their call before turning over the case to Detectives Doug Milligan and Felix Zachary. The cops believe the deceased is affluent Harlan Knight, whose adult children filed a missing person’s report a few days ago in which they said their widower father suffers from late stage dementia. Meanwhile Doug’s wife Police Officer Stacey Milligan and her partner Lizette Gibbs interview severely beaten rape victim Felicia Higgins.

The ME reports that the cause of Knight’s death is not drowning, but an overdose of a prescription drug. Besides family members, the housemaid, the victim’s three Seabee buddies and a loving widow are suspects. New Captain Chandra Taylor uses a computer generated program to draw the face of the rapist from the description provided by his second horribly battered victim Jenny Jacoby. Stunned Stacey is horrified as the face looking back at her from the monitor is a younger version of Police Officer Ryan Strickland whose wife just gave birth to a cute Down’s Syndrome baby.

The latest Rocky Bluff PD police procedural (see Dangerous Impulses, Bad Tidings and No Bells) is a wonderful leisurely-paced investigative thriller that deftly combines the cops’ personal lives with adapting to a new chief while working two violent crimes and several other offenses. Subgenre fans will appreciate F. M. Meredith’s engaging rotation of the lead amongst her ensemble cast as the cases and what is happening off the job prove very interesting.

Harriet Klausner

Poisoned Ground-Sandra Parshall

March 10, 2014

Poisoned Ground
Sandra Parshall
Poisoned Pen, Mar 4 2014, $24.95
ISBN: 9781464202247

Residents of Mason County, Virginia are divided between development of a resort and traditional use of the land. Those supporting the developers see a chance to make a lot of easy money by selling their property and argue for the influx of needed jobs; those opposed see urbanization’s crime and pollution destroy their pristine landscape and the minimum wage jobs fail to take care of a family.

Veterinarian Rachel Goddard tries to keep her opinion to herself since her husband Tom Bridger must remain neutral as the sheriff. However, the dispute turns lethal when someone murders Lincoln and Marie Kelly for no apparent reason except that they refused to sell. Complicating the double homicides are the adult children as the debt-ridden son is irate that his sister inherited most of the estate. Deal critic Joanna McKendrick finds her barn burned to the ground and others opposed to the development live in fear they will be next. As Tom leads the investigation, he and his staff try to get the angry adversaries to calm down while Rachel already disgusted with the attitudes of the developers personalizes the situation when her family is threatened.

The latest Rachel Goddard mystery (see Under the Dog Star and Bleeding Through) is a superb taut thriller with a deep focus on a fuming and frightened split populace fussing and fighting over land use. With a fabulous late twist adding topping to this timely (Keystone comes to mind) strong storyline, readers will appreciate Sandra Parshall’s puissant Poisoned Ground.

Harriet Klausner

Wrecked-Tricia Fields

March 7, 2014

Tricia Fields
Minotaur, Mar 4 2014, $25.99
ISBN 9781250021373

In Artemis, Texas someone shoots to death secretary Christina Handley for no apparent reason while her boss accountant Dillon Reese disappears. Reese’s girlfriend Police Chief Josie Gray understands the ramifications of her boyfriend’s vanishing means he is the prime suspect in the murder of his employee and she must recuse herself from the investigation.

When a ransom demand for nine-million arrives accompanied by a video of Dillon in captivity arrives, Josie fears for his life and relief he was not one of the killers though why they murdered Christina remains unknown as does how to meet the monetary demand. Josie asks hostage negotiator Nick Santos to help her rescue Dillon.

The third Josie Gray police procedural (see The Territory and Scratchgravel Road) is an entertaining mystery as this case is personal for the protagonist, which makes standing on the sidelines doing nothing but praying practically difficult when she craves killing the thugs. Fast-paced with for the most part exciting rotational perspectives, readers will appreciate Josie’s latest crime case.

Harriet Klausner