That scrappy Staten Island waitress returns as a rookie cop in post-Katrina New Orleans in this sequel to The Devil She Knows (2011).
Only a year after dispatching two really bad guys on her home turf, Maureen Coughlin has graduated from the police academy in New Orleans. Her idea is to start over somewhere new; wounded herself, she identifies with a wounded city. Maureen’s makeover in not complete: “she hated the raw fury that swirled inside her.” That fury shows itself on her first assignment, a domestic violence call. She overreacts by hurling the perp to the ground and is admonished by her training officer, Preacher Boyd, a jaded veteran near retirement. More serious crime scenes follow. An addict trying to locate drugs in a neighbor’s green Plymouth is shot to death; then a 13-year-old’s burnt body is found in the car’s trunk. From clues dropped by another at-risk kid, a drummer in a marching band, Maureen gathers the instigator is Bobby Scales, a mysterious figure with no criminal record. But just when Loehfelm should be tightening the screws, zeroing in on Scales, he pauses for flashbacks to Maureen and her mom on graduation day. Another scene, in which Maureen is dumped by her boyfriend, further slows the momentum. New Orleans is an inexhaustible trove for crime writers, so it’s disappointing that the NOPD, reputedly the most corrupt in the nation, is represented by just two cops, Preacher and Atkinson, the upstanding female homicide detective whom Maureen sees as her role model. There’s a corresponding dearth of major league criminals. We barely glimpse Bobby Scales, whom Maureen, without her gun, recklessly chases on foot through the tourist-packed French Quarter; he escapes. Some readers will find Maureen admirable; she has a big heart and is always up for a challenge. Others will feel the last thing the city needs is a new officer with a hair-trigger temper.
Readers will be turned off by the sluggish pace and paucity of action.