Brenham’s fast-paced police drama juggles a number of narrative lines and disparate characters.
The thriller opens with Austin Police Detective Jason Scarsdale staring down the black barrel of his service revolver, contemplating the blackness of existence since the death of his wife. Scarsdale, part of the department’s sex crime unit, opts for life. He continues to work on the many cases his superiors dump on his desk, and he vows to himself to become both father and mother to his daughter, Shannon. Brenham nimbly moves the plot along by introducing his second main character and switching to her point of view, a technique that enhances both characterization and perspective. Dani Mueller, aka Karla Engel, a crime analyst for the Austin Police Department, is a woman with a mission and a dark secret. Scarsdale’s investigations into two homicides take him into the seedy world of child pornography (where he runs afoul of his superiors), where a variety of lowlifes and petty criminals are all linked by a mysterious figure known only as the CEO. As the action heats up, so does his relationship with Mueller. Though their tragic backgrounds (the loss of his wife and her daughter) tend to draw them together, each has reason to keep a healthy professional distance. At the same time, Mueller’s secret threatens to undo both her life and Scarsdale’s investigation. The entire cast of characters—good and evil—is well-constructed and realistic, while the action-packed ending grows organically out of their varied personalities. So too does the emotional ending, which chooses intelligence over sentimentality.
A gripping, fast-moving and emotionally charged drama centered on well-drawn characters with genuine motives.