A murder investigation unfolds inside Detroit’s tightknit Greek community.
The brutal rape and murder of a young woman, Gretchen Parker, sparks the plot of this appealing mystery from Jenkins (Family Dynamics, 2012, etc.). Detroit’s police dispatch calls detective Jill Zannos, a longtime veteran with deep roots in Detroit’s “Greektown” enclave; she was raised there by her gruff father, Gus, after the death of her mother and the institutionalization of her mentally impaired brother. She joins her detective partner, Albert Wong, and begins the investigation into Parker’s disappearance and death, all the while juggling the demands of her outspoken, extended family and her hapless boyfriend Alex, (Gus, we’re told, is “resigned to the fact that his only daughter would probably never leave this sad and broken man”). Jill brings her dogged professionalism to the investigation, along with an acute instinct that she’s comfortable chalking up to a touch of extrasensory perception. “Being Greek,” Jenkins writes, “living above the family grocery store, having a mentally retarded brother, a dead mother, and a little ESP cemented Jill’s outcast standing in the community.” She’s a skilled detective, however, and as she tells her father, she’s “not just another pretty face.” After a series of well-deployed plot twists, Jill zeroes in on the culprit. Jenkins complicates and expands the domestic and detecting halves of the plot with a deft, sure touch, and her portrayal of Gretchen Parker’s final day is unflinchingly stark. Jenkins also expertly captures the exotic sights, sounds, and smells (oregano, mint, garlic, feta, olive oil, tomato, etc.) of the neighborhood.
An effective, memorable police-procedural whodunit.