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IN HARM’S WAY by Ridley Pearson

IN HARM’S WAY

By Ridley Pearson

Pub Date: Aug. 3rd, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-399-15654-0
Publisher: Putnam

Pearson’s (Killer Summer, 2009, etc.) Sun Valley sheriff Walt Fleming tries to sort out his knotty personal life as he hunts for a killer, with a little help from Seattle cop Lou Boldt, another Pearson character.

Things have gotten complicated for Walt Fleming. He’s a busy cop who still wants to be a part of his young daughter’s lives. He has to work not only with Fiona, the crime-scene photographer with whom he has a budding romance, but also with the man who is currently shacked up with his ex-wife. And as always, he has to deal with the tension between the folks who live in Sun Valley and the rich sports agents and Hollywood types who keep homes there. When someone kills former linebacker Martel Gale on Fleming’s turf, the complications in his life threaten to boil over. For one thing, he’s going to have to spend more time away from his kids. Fiona has been acting strangely since right around the time they found the body. And suspicion for the murder quickly falls on a couple of pro-sports big shots with vacation homes—and good lawyers—one of whom threatened to kill Gale just a few days before his body was found. Luckily for Fleming, Pearson’s Seattle cop Lou Boldt is in town working on a murder of his own, one in which Gale, who had a violent past, may have played a role. The two form an easy working relationship, and continue to compare notes via Skype after Boldt returns to Seattle. Much of the book deals with Fleming’s feelings about his increasingly thorny private life. While explorations of Fleming’s inner turmoil are fine in small doses, adding welcome depth to his character, the emphasis on his emotional life sometimes threatens to derail Pearson’s pace. But Fleming is a supremely likable character, and this book has plenty of gripping moments, which do much to temper the sappy stuff.

An excess of melodrama doesn't quite derail an otherwise cracking procedural.