by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of The Last Good Place, along with a link to purchase the book.
In the early 1970s, Carolyn Weston began writing crime novels featuring San Francisco Police Sergeants Al Krug and Casey Kellog. These novels would become the basis for the television series The Streets of San Francisco, starring Michael Douglas and Karl Malden. Now Robin Burcell skillfully continues the original three-novel series, albeit with a few modern updates. Cell phones, social media, and computer surveillance are introduced, and Burcell very wisely softens Al Krug’s character just enough to make him less likely to be sued, fired, or arrested.
For the past four months, San Francisco has been plagued by four strangulation murders attributed to the Landmark Strangler. The latest possible serial killing could be that of Trudy Salvatori, the estranged wife of a wealthy construction-business owner. That she was also the finance director for Congressman Parnell, a representative up for reelection, ensures that this will be a political nightmare that could either make or break careers.
The one with the most at stake is ambitious Sergeant Casey Kellog, the newest and youngest homicide detective on the force. While he has the education and degrees, his partner Al Krug has over thirty years of detective experience. Following honed instincts, Al may not always operate by the books, but it’s hard to argue with the results. That Casey is not oblivious to his rookie status only makes him more likable, and readers soon see how he often feels overwhelmed and unprepared on how to build a personal life around such a demanding job. That it is his dryly acerbic partner who actually teaches him how to do this proves an even greater revelation.
This is a fun, well-plotted police procedural that delves into the inner workings of a police department and its detectives. Readers may be reminded of the writings of Ed McBain, the master of building relationships between officers, utilizing black-humor banter, and keeping his novels timeless. Burcell’s own experience as a police officer, not to mention her own numerous suspense and mystery novels, make her the perfect candidate to continue this series.
Alternating chapters narrated by a journalist with her own agenda, as well as ones by the individuals whose secrets will be forced out into the open by the investigation, are as compelling as those by the detectives. This is a riveting and very entertaining mystery that deftly recreates and updates noir detective novels.
To enter to win a copy of The Last Good Place, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Last,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 14, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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