Child abuse investigator Koretsky, creator of the Dalton Keys thrillers (Blueprint, 2009, etc.), turns her hand to a subject near and dear to her in this trio of bruising novellas.
As an emergency response investigator for the Santa Isabel court system, Amanda Russo has seen human misery that almost defies description. In Mandated Reporter, former client Hilda Creede calls Amanda with a shocking claim that she’s just seen her teenage son, Cameron, sexually assaulting her younger son, Wharton. But a look into Cameron’s traumatic childhood reveals an unnerving sense of history repeating itself. The trauma in The Pink Balcony is more mental than physical. Reba Smithe runs away from the Halcyon House group home after being charged with stealing a valuable pin. But the more Amanda digs into Reba’s claim that the pin actually belonged to her mother, left over from the days when she partied in homes of the rich and famous, the more suspicious the investigator becomes of Halcyon’s owner, Dr. Baker, who brought the charges against Reba in the first place. Could Melinda, who brought Reba up in squalor, have owned such a fabulous jewel? Amanda also knows that abuse and neglect aren’t limited to the poor. In Grant’s Line, she searches for Roseann Cantrell, who disappeared from her family’s home after Pablo, the chauffeur, was shot to death. The Cantrells, who own Cantrell Pacific Lumber, write Roseann off: her mother, Elena, is too stoned to care and father Adam seems absorbed in the great family tragedy, in which his father, Hugh, murdered the man who killed Hugh’s father, Samuel. But can Roseann’s disappearance provide an alternate version of Samuel’s death?
Koretsky’s care over the grim details of Amanda’s investigations does nothing to dull the edge of her puzzles, although in one case, the end comes rather abruptly.