UNAUTHORIZED DEPARTURE by Maureen O’Brien

UNAUTHORIZED DEPARTURE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Tough British cop, on vacation in France, finds himself at the center of a murder probe.

When London police detective John Bright exposes corruption within the department, he becomes the target of a spate of anonymous death threats. Perhaps unwisely, he keeps this information from live-in girlfriend Jude, lest she worry unnecessarily. The combination of death threats and a visit by Jude’s clinging ex, Dan, convinces the workaholic Bright to finally take a vacation, as Jude has been repeatedly suggesting. The pair rediscovers their passion gadding about the South of France. One night, Bright’s libido is roused via interaction with an innocent but provocative local tease named Mariela, who is idling near their hotel; he and Jude then spend an idyllic night together. Next morning, Mariela’s brutalized corpse is found and, by virtue of being seen with her, Bright becomes a suspect. French inspector Folin admits that evidence against him is scant, but requests that Bright and Jude remain in the area until the murderer’s found. A handsome professor named Breton offers to put the couple up in the meantime. Bright becomes suspicious, both because he fears that Breton may be hitting on Jude and because he believes Breton is protecting a young man also seen with Mariela that night.

Sleek mystery, with great pace and an abundance of well-written dialogue. Much of its success, however, rests on the reader’s affinity for the abrasive Bright.

Pub Date: Sept. 7th, 2003
ISBN: 0-312-31600-3
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2003