How’s this for a conflict of interest? The same day Detective Cézanne Martin, of the Fort Worth Police Department, learns that she’s passed the Texas bar exam, she catches a red-hot homicide: the slaying of Carrie Crane, the daughter of hard-nosed Captain Chuck Crane, Cézanne’s boss. Acting on information Cézanne’s partner, hard-drinking Roby Tyson, meant for her ears alone, the department moves swiftly to build a case against Roby, who offers her $50,000 if she’ll take him on as her first legal client while she’s still working the case. Not only does Cézanne see no ethical problem here but, realizing that the case file will be closed to Roby’s attorney, she blackmails her old mentor, Deputy Chief Daniel Rosen, into reinstating her in Homicide—this after she’s sidelined to the career graveyard of the Pawn Shop Detail, where she’s run into more antagonism in the shape of new secretary Darlene Driskoll, the wife Cézanne never suspected departmental ladies’ man Doug Driskoll was hiding when he swept her out of the squad room and into bed. As their colleagues circle the wagons against Roby and Cézanne, she reaches out to the one person she can trust: a hayseed sheriff from Johnson County. Clearly, debut novelist Moore isn’t conflict-shy, and she’s created a no-holds-barred heroine who does whatever she needs to in order to come out on top.
Ignore the false notes here—the tough-but-vulnerable swagger, the overheated backstory, the witless Who’s-on-First interlude, the interminable windup—and pray that Moore, who’s well worth watching, sticks to her best stuff next time.