Book Review: The Deep End by Debra Purdy Kong

The Deep EndThe Deep End
A Casey Holland Mystery #4
Debra Purdy Kong
TouchWood Editions, September 2014
ISBN 978-1-77151-093-6
Trade Paperback

Casey Holland, the protagonist in this series by Debra Purdy Kong, in which this is the fourth entry, “a criminology student and an experienced security officer,” has just started her first shift as a volunteer at Fraserview Youth Custody Center, a juvenile detention facility just outside of Vancouver housing 25 youngsters, supposedly only for a few days each.  Soon after her shift starts, she is startled to find that a friend’s 15-year-old grandson, Justin, is a resident there.  Then, later on that same evening, Mac Jorgenson, the 230-pound man in his late fifties and the director of the facility, dies right in front of Casey, from an apparent heart attack, although it develops that the circumstances were suspicious.  A helluva way to start a new job – – and that’s only the beginning.

Casey’s life is not without its own drama:  Her boyfriend, Lou, who she’d known for over ten years, had moved in with her two months ago.  32 years old, she is the legal guardian of a 13-year old girl, Summer, a “surly, self-absorbed teen,” whose mother is incarcerated, serving a life sentence for 2nd-degree murder.

Fraserview is somewhat shabby, with insufficient staff in the evenings, and is rumored to be on the verge of closing within the next several months.  Casey is a criminology student and an experienced security officer, but finds herself challenged here when there is a second death and rumors of illegal activity, and is fearful that Justin may be either involved, or in danger himself.  There is no lack of suspects, and Casey feels it her duty to try to find out the truth, fearful for Justin’s safety.

Casey is a very interesting protag, and though I had not read any of the prior entries in the series, the author fills in the background and the history of the characters, so that was not a problem, and I found the tale very absorbing.


Reviewed by Gloria Feit, April 2015.