A deputy sheriff is hailed as a hero after capturing two apparent murderers, but he comes to suspect that he may not have nabbed the right men in this police procedural.
In the tension-filled beginning to Overson’s (The Jackson Contract, 2013, etc.) latest novel, a rooftop sniper overlooking the Davis County Courthouse in Farmington, Utah, gets ready to shoot a man just convicted of robbery and triple murder at a local gas station/convenience store. The narrative then jumps back three months to the night of the original crime, when Deputy Sheriff Kory Hovac, notified of the theft and slayings, spots a speeding Camaro driven by a man fitting the killer’s description. After a chase ends in a crash, Kory takes driver Lenny Bronk and passenger Marty Montayne into custody. But a lack of physical evidence linking either man to the crime, and the fact that the stolen money was never recovered, has Kory wondering whether the two really did it. And why would both men confess, with Bronk fingering Montayne as the shooter? Were they tricked into doing so during an aggressive interrogation? Running parallel to the crime saga are the sad stories of both of the accused’s parents and one of the victims’ families, as well as of the illness and death of Kory’s young wife, Marie. In time, two new women come into Kory’s life: Eve Proctor, the prosecutor in the murder case; and Feleena Rios, a nursing student and waitress at the Crossroads Cafe. As a former state trooper and retired professor of criminal justice at Utah’s Weber State University, the author writes with authority on law and crime, but less engagingly on dating intrigue; mid-story, the crime elements get put on the back burner as characters discuss which girl Kory is “liking,” Feleena gets jealous of Eve, and Eve’s roommate, Marla Pace, starts going out with Kory’s friend and colleague Neil Grassly. That said, the book’s argument against capital punishment is strong, as is its passionate stand against stereotyping ethnic groups (Montayne, an Armenian, is often thought by others to be Mexican) and a warning that “the balance of the ‘scales of justice’ can be determined too much by the personal skills, experience and other attributes of attorneys.”
A sometimes-digressive law-and-order story with important messages regarding the American criminal justice system.