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by David Grace

Pub Date: Aug. 27th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1434441133
Publisher: Wildside Press

Set in the modern day, this straightforward, fast-paced detective novel cages a truly twisted villain.

Detective Ned Danes, an honest cop and all-American family man, just made a startling discovery: A high profile murder case has been rigged—evidence was intentionally misplaced—to secure a conviction. The reader is thrust into a page-turning, clever narrative that continually morphs from police procedural, thriller, courtroom drama, and gritty evaluation of a serial rapist and killer. Blue-collar and committed to justice, instantly likable Danes finds himself at odds with the DA as well as his peers for introducing the suspect’s defense lawyer to the misplaced evidence—a tape showing the defendant buying pornography at roughly the same time the murder took place. In a surprisingly realistic courtroom dialogue, Danes presses on, resulting in the defendant’s release but also in Danes’ demotion to the head of the cold case department. Danes’ friend in the FBI, the noble but complex Phillip Abbott, assures him that he won’t be forgotten. It’s when Walter Plackman is introduced that the novel really takes form. Plackman, who calls himself HDP (“hunt, dominate, possess”), spends his time befriending young girls on Facebook and scanning their information for clues as to their whereabouts, his activities disturbingly similar to those of a detective. He’s on the “hunt” for Amy, whom he promptly finds and abducts. In a compelling twist, a full year passes after this event, showing the often horrific consequences of crime. When the novel reforms, the heroes are different people with unfamiliar lives, and the victim for whom they want justice is unalterably changed. To be fair, though, there are some rough patches in the novel: It’s cluttered with inconsequential ancillary characters, dialogue can sound wooden and the relentless pace allows for little introspection. Still, Grace relishes the accurate and disturbing details, providing top-quality entertainment that overcomes its faults with a relentless story.

Well-written, engaging and sure to keep you up.