Should Grace Fail
A Twin Cities Mystery #2
Coffeetown Press, December 2020
A flawed former cop who fashioned a career helping trafficked teens is found dead in a dumpster. Murdered. Veteran Saint Paul, Minnesota, detectives Deb Metzger and Erik Jansson are assigned the case, that almost immediately enmeshes them in a complicated, many-level situation. Separately and together, the pair negotiate the levels of society from the meanest of mean streets to the upper clean levels of mostly white wealthy society.
From a police chief seemingly more concerned with his back problems to a wealthy hotel scion worried about her family business reputation, to disruptive drug deals in placid lake-shore parks, Jansson and Metzger bounce and bump from lead to clue and back. And all the while each is beset by personal life difficulties they must cope with.
The novel contains a substantial group of active, flawed characters who contribute both helpful and obscuring actions and information. This group includes a lot of fascinating and even talented individuals which adds a rich texture to the story. Therapy dogs, driving ranges, a music festival and the general city characteristics are all effectively used by the author. This is a well-written, finely-paced deep dive into real city folks and urban activities. Well worth any crime novel fan’s attention.
Reviewed by Carl Brookins, August 2021.
Traces, Grand Lac, Sins of Edom, Red Sky.