Sunday, January 24, 2010

CLOSE CASE by Alafair Burke (2005)

This is the second Samantha Kincaid novel I've read and it's cemented my urge to read every novel by Alafair Burke, herself a former deputy district attorney in Portland. There is a credibility to her storytelling that convinces me that everything is plausible.

In the opening pages, star investigative reporter Percy Crenshaw is bludgeoned to death in the carport of his tony neighborhood where his Mercedes with its vanity plate "Snoop" fits right in. Everyone says what a good guy Percy was and how generous he was to the extended community, especially to those who were so frequently marginalized by poverty.

Two young men seem easy suspects, especially when one of them confesses as much, only later to recant citing coercive police tactics. Complicating the tension is the fact that Kincaid's live-in beau, Chuck Forbes, is one of the detectives involved in the investigation. He is torn, of course, between protecting his love and supporting his partner Mike, who has a questionable past of his own.

Faced with a bull-terrier defense counsel and new evidence that brings her case under question, Kincaid finds herself wondering who she can trust, including herself. With the help of a fledgling reporter determined to interpret Crenshaw's notes, Kincaid follows the path of clues that leads her to the truth, but not before other innocent victims are slain in its wake.

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