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by M. J. Boyd

Publisher: Inkwater Press

First-time author Boyd explores what happens when the police department’s gorgeous lead detective finds herself seduced by a serial killer.

Gillian Pall is the chief detective in Amaranthine, a town in the Midwest. Recently, though, her life has fallen apart: Just a few short years after Gill’s father’s death, her lover Tessara was murdered by a serial killer Gill wasn’t able to stop in time. For Gill, the months since Tessara’s death have been flooded by alcohol, sleeping pills and guilt. When three bodies are discovered in a dark alley, Gill senses that something is different; these aren’t typical murders. Taser marks and deep, surgical razor cuts immediately point to another serial killer. But the murderer isn’t a typical serial killer; the clues left behind seem not only intentional but directed at Gill. Interestingly, Gill believes that the killer—a woman—knows her well and is trying to seduce her. The concept is a great twist on the typical police procedural: a lesbian lead detective and the female serial killer who loves but stalks her. And the concept works; the passion between the two, even before any meeting, is real. The book’s witty dialogue is terrific, too, building Gill into an intriguing character. The trouble begins when the novel admirably tries to pull something deeper out of a genre piece. In such passages, the text becomes mired in pages weighed down by Gill’s self-analysis. Often, these reflections could have been successfully accomplished in a fraction of the space. Although the lengthy navel-gazing may help create complexity in Gill’s character, it’s so dense that it stems the flow of the narrative while disengaging readers.

A sexy twist on the police procedural that wilts under heavy-handed introspection.