A Who-dunnit, rather than a Thriller. A jigsaw which at first seems to have so few pieces, but that builds at last to be a solid picture. Obviously set in Manhattan, it is a police procedural whose central characters are reasonably real, warmbloodedly human, and very amusing in their interplay with each other, with their co-workers and with the public. Descriptions are apt and paint a quick sketch for those on the edge of the stage, but we get to like and know the scarred and fractured Sergeant Brymmer quite well. His partner, the goodlooking ex-actor, officer Ross is torn between his job and the wife he loves that is slipping away into a mental vacuum where he can no longer reach her.
As the case of male murder and member mutilation becomes five cases, suggesting a female perp, the citizens grow restless and the mayor passes the pressure to the PD. Three months pass. The task force is increased to hundreds, but the serial pecker picker leaves no clues except differing hanks of hair and confusingly vague descriptions.
Brymmer is dogged by a red-headed reporter, who, with the finding of some red hair at a crime scene, becomes a suspect as well as an attraction whom he must keep at arms’ length. But Brymmer is determined, clever and overall, patient. And with him we finally get there; for my part enjoying the journey.
Some crime fiction thrills with heart-pounding tension, some have a moral to share or provoke deep thought, and some are padded with humour and sharp wit. (Or enough to convince some readers that they also must be quite smart to catch on.) I enjoyed it, thinking I might be quite bright, too…
The technical inclusion of forms for the application for search warrants is unnecessary, to my mind, but, if you don’t absolutely need to have break-neck pace and enjoy a good back-story, I do recommend this book.
A copy was sent to Book Postmortem by Joanna Rees of Cheshire House Books, NY. Due for release in February, 2016.