by Sandra Murphy
Details at the end of this review on how to enter to win a copy of Glass Houses.
The action starts on the first page as a lawyer for the city, his wife and twin foster children are killed in their sleep. After that, it just doesn’t stop.
Thom and George, police detectives, are called to the scene even though they’re not technically on duty. It seems Lt. Craig has pulled other detectives off the case and assigned it to them. That’s a first. The case is particularly hard on Thom since he has twin girls of his own. To add to his stress, he was at a bar the night before and picked up a young woman. There was sex in her car; no names exchanged.
Thom is mortified to figure out that the person who reported the crime was that same young woman. She’s a former foster child of the lawyer and his wife and currently works in the lawyer’s office. He immediately reports this to his Lt. and expects to be removed from the case. It will be a high-profile, in-the-papers kind besides so to keep things on the up and up, he has to be excused. Except, his boss doesn’t see it that way. Thom is under integrity review and now has passed the test, but to reassign the case yet again would look bad.
Things go from bad to worse. Birdie, Thom’s cousin, is an investigative reporter. Her father, a top cop, brought down half a dozen police officers who had been part of the Blue Bandits– officers “gone bad.” He was killed in a shootout but not before leaving notes and evidence for Birdie. She’s just published part one of the story and although it’s great water cooler talk for the public, it’s bad inside the department.
Birdie has other things going on too–one year of sobriety, lack of sleep due to nightmares, a boyfriend whose body was never found, a new boyfriend who seems to be controlling and a huge need for focus on something besides the problems in her life. She decides to revisit a story she’s worked on years before about a sleazy landlord.
Things heat up even more when other jurisdictions report murders using the same signature as Thom’s case. In all, there are eight bodies with no seeming connection.
In the midst of all the murder and mayhem, Thom’s wife asks him to leave. She’s known about, in fact, encouraged, his outside affairs but now it looks like she might be having one of her own. Thom hires Noa, an expensive but thorough investigator to find out for sure. Although Noa tells Thom they’ll never meet again, I hope that’s not true. Noa is too good a character to retire after one use.
This is a book with plots and subplots to spare, coincidences that stretch believability and conspiracy theories enough to please the most paranoid. It shouldn’t work but somehow, it all pulls together. It’s not always easy for a writer to keep the details straight in a story but when there are multiple storylines going on, it’s a real juggling act. Nolan manages it, makes the reader like Thom, George and Birdie in spite or because of their flaws, and spins a good mystery while doing it. Instead of tying up every loose end and over-explaining, some things are left to the reader to figure out based on the information given and there’s a good cliff hanger ending as well. This is one I’ll read again and again.
The first book in the series is titled Burden of Truth.
To enter to win a copy of Glass Houses, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Glass,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 7, 2014. U.S. residents only.
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