I love a flawed protagonist, and retired FBI agent Brigid Quinn is deeply flawed, completely human, and often quite funny. When a man is arrested for a series of ritualized killings that might have included her former protege, Brigid draws away from her happy marriage and quiet retired life, toward the chaos and brutality of the investigation of serial killers. When it turns out that someone might also be hunting her, Brigid's marriage, her life, and her freedom are all on the line.
North Carolina Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Stella Lavender is stuck doing drug buys every night when her heart is in homicide. When the bride dies at a wedding Stella is attending with her grandmother, she has the good fortune to be pulled in to help Sheriff's Department Detective Anselmo Morales investigate the murder. Seems like Pullen is beginning a series, as there are many loose ends dangling about to be sorted out later. I'm hoping she decides to cut back on the characters in her next books. Cold Feet has at least 25 characters with speaking parts from the overlapping parts of Stella's life.
Jassy Mackenzie writes some of the most chilling mysteries around, and she is responsible for enhancing my fear of genetically modified foods to a morbid level. Jade is asked to investigate the suspicious death of a base jumper, and is drawn across the country searching for clues in the wake of a very creepy killer. Her relationship with David and feelings about herself have become much more complex.
Linda Barnes is definitely stepping out of her Carlotta Carlyle zone. Here Em Moore, the invisible half of a team of ghostwriters of celebrity autobiographies, is trying to wrap up the book that she and her partner Teddy Blake started before his death in a car accident. By successfully finishing the interviews and the book, she hopes to start her own solo career and find her uncomfortable way out of the comfortable shadows. Em is more than a little pathetic, victim of an unhappy childhood and a tendency to fall in love with cads, but she manages to pull herself together enough to get the job done.
This book is irresistible if you know Long Beach and have driven down, eaten at, or can otherwise recognize the places Dilts mentions. And even it you don't, it's pretty good. Though suffering with chronic pain, Long Beach detective Danny Becket is back on the job after an altercation with a bad guy nearly severs his hand from his wrist. He and his black-belt partner, Jennifer Tanaka, are investigating the brutal killing of a congressman's son's wife and young children, and the case keeps getting more and more complicated. At one point, he actually diagrams the relationship among the various motives and players. "Russians, politicians, Ukrainians, special ops, Jolly Green Giants. Come on, you think anyone could follow this?"
I like Pomeroy's writing, characters, pacing, and levels of suspense and humor, but I found the story largely unbelievable. Pack is a veteran and limo driver; his cousin Mitch/Millie is a gruff, tough, and transgendered ex-cop; and his daughter, Vida, is an AWOL soldier trying to investigate the murder of her roommate and evade a killer.
I read this book over a couple of weeks when I was busy and distracted, and yet I was always able to keep track of what was going on and ultimately enjoyed the story. Carter Ross, investigative reporter for the Newark Eagle-Examiner, backs into a story about a dead police officer and gets a very different picture from the family than is later released by the police department. Figuring out what really happened requires Ross to call upon an increasingly wide network of resources throughout the community.