Author – V. M. Giambanco
Published – 2015
Genre – Crime fiction
I’m new to V. M. Giambanco’s books, but this is the third in her series of police procedurals set in Seattle and featuring Detective Alice Madison. There’s a fair amount reference to events that I imagine took place in earlier books but this didn’t in any way spoil this book for me.
Madison has been in the homicide unit for around two years and is about to take charge of her first homicide case with her experienced partner (Brown) supporting her. The case is a particularly brutal murder of a man in his own home and there are very few clues. But one piece of crucial evidence links the crime to one worked by Brown seven years before and throws doubt on a conviction he secured. This could make their partnership difficult but in fact Brown is a decent man and a good policeman and he deals with the situation well.
A different thread which runs alongside this investigation is something which appears to have originated in earlier books and that is Madison’s relationship to John Cameron, a known killer who she met some 18 months ago. He is a shady and devious character who owes Madison a debt and colleagues from the LA division of the DEA would like her ‘help’ to find him.
Although Madison’s is the main point of view there are also sections from a number of other points of view including a prison inmate, John Cameron, the killer she is hunting and the widow of the man whose murder she is investigating. I’m not a big fan of swapping pov but it works quite neatly here and Giambanco keeps the pace going and the characters are different enough that you can follow where you are and who you’re with.
I thought this was an enjoyable mix of Madison’s personal life and the police investigation. She’s a likeable character and although she has some personal issues to resolve she doesn’t spend a lot of time being angst-ridden or dwelling on the past. There are some interesting observations made as she embarks on a new relationship with someone outside the police force which might or might not make it to the end of the book! The climax has a race against time and a few unexpected developments which take this beyond the run of the mill police procedural that skips the details on the ins and outs of the forensics and procedures.
You can find an interview with V. M Giambanco on Crime Thriller Fella’s blog. Many thanks to the publisher for the review copy of the book.