Thursday, December 13, 2018

THE THIEF OF ALL LIGHT by Bernard Schaffer


This review first appeared in Library Journal and is published here with permission. 


     Real-life police detective Bernard Schaffer makes his traditional publishing debut with this thriller set in rural Pennsylvania. Carrie Santero is a young, eager patrol officer, but the pace just isn’t fast enough, and she’ll do about anything to get an assignment on the revered County Detective squad. But when one murder becomes two, and the likelihood of a serial killer becomes evident, she discovers perhaps the detective work she craved is more than she can handle. 

     Schaffer’s knowledge of detective work, particularly the toll it takes on those tasked with it, is evident. Throughout the book, he dives deeply in the psyche of the police detective, the inner angst, frustrations, and doubts; working to get in the minds of the criminals they’re trying to catch while staying on the right side of the darkness, and dealing with the guilt and desperation that often results.

     VERDICT: Strong on the emotional struggles of police detectives, a bit weak on personal dialogue and as a police procedural. Would likely appeal to fans of Brian Freeman, JA Kerley, and Meg Gardiner


Schaffer, Bernard. The Thief of All Light, Kensington Books, July 31, 2018. 
ISBN: 978-1496717139



A copy of The Thief of All Light was provided by the publisher via Library Journal. No compensation was provided for this review. 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

WHITE RIVER BURNING by John Verdon


This review first appeared in Library Journal and is published here with permission. 


     The sixth in a series by John Verdon featuring retired NYPD Detective Dave Gurney, the upstate New York town of White River is reeling after a police shooting claims the life of an unarmed black man. During resulting protests, a police officer is murdered and the obvious suspect is the Black Defense Alliance. An anxious district attorney brings a reluctant Gurney into the investigation, which has pit a law and order police chief and his department against the BDA. 

     A gripping police procedural that includes motives of hate, ambition, justice, and power, Verdon also involves many issues of social concern today: dystopian media outlets, police corruption, racial divide, and an economically distressed town doing its best to survive. Characters, especially that of Dave Gurney, are believable, if a bit static, and compelling. And while the story involves police corruption, it also includes several good, honest police officers who are disturbed by what is happening and will work to stop it.  
     White River Burning is a fast-paced police procedural that will appeal to crime fiction readers with an interest in current events and enjoy David Baldacci, Michael Connelly, and Carrie Smith.  


Verdon, John. White River Burning, Counterpoint, July 3, 2018. 
ISBN: 978-1640090637




A copy of White River Burning was provided by the publisher via Library Journal. No compensation was provided for this review. 



Thursday, November 29, 2018

CLOSE YOUR EYES by Michael Robotham


     Psychologist Joe O’Laughlin is summonsed by friend and police detective Ronnie Cray after a double murder has left police stumped.  Reluctantly, Joe accepts, on the condition that Ronnie never ask for his help again.  Joe helps on the case, but the timing couldn’t be worse. His estranged wife, Julianne, has asked him to return to the family home for the summer, extending, Joe hopes, an opportunity at reconciliation.  But as often happens, life has other plans. 

     This is the 8th book in Michael Robotham’s series featuring Joe O’Laughlin, though my first. I was not necessary to have read the previous novels to get a good sense of the characters and their relationships. The story was told in first person, alternating between Joe and the killer, with the majority being from the perspective of the former. Some characters, Joe’s friend and back-up man Vincent Ruiz and Cray in particular, could have been better explored, but I expect their relationships were established in the previous books in the series. 
      I enjoyed the United Kingdom setting, providing a change of pace from United States based books and offering some insight into law enforcement in other parts of the world.  
     Close Your Eyes is a solid mystery and psychological thriller.


Robotham, Michael. Close Your Eyes, Mulholland Books, April 12, 2016. 
ISBN: 978-0316267946




A copy of Close Your Eyes was provided to The Thirty Year Itch by the publisher via NetGalley.com. No compensation was provided for this review.