From Publishers Weekly
In Burke's lively second Samantha Kincaid mystery (after 2003's Judgment Calls
), the Deputy District Attorney has just joined the Major Crimes Unit in Portland, Ore., when a local judge, Clarissa Easterbrook, goes missing and is then found murdered. As Kincaid sifts through possible suspects, she also adjusts to the personalities in her new office, including her surprisingly friendly supervisor. Evidence of the judge's affair with a politician and an increasingly confusing crush of contracts, judgments and financial papers make it difficult to believe that Kincaid would seriously consider Melvin Jackson, a poor black man, as the likely murderer. A former drug addict, Jackson was in danger of losing custody of his kids in a case Easterbrook was considering just before her death. Eventually, Kincaid turns to a more obvious source of trouble. Kincaid is an appealing if perhaps too familiar a type—a slightly seasoned, feisty woman who runs impressive distances and confides her endearing foibles to the reader. Burke does a good job of integrating the political and personal lives of her characters, with the detectives of the Major Crimes Unit being particularly well drawn. Witty and concise dialogue helps redeem the somewhat stiff plotting.
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Clarissa Easterbrook was a judge in Portland, Oregon, and the wife of a prominent surgeon--until her lifeless body was found near a construction site at the city's edge. Samantha Kincaid, new to the district attorney's Major Crimes Unit, is assigned the case. When Samantha learns that Clarissa was having an affair, suspicion centers on the spouse. Could the doctor have been inspired to perform cranial surgery with a hunk of granite? But the forensic evidence forms a circumstantial case against a former drug addict who could lose his home and possibly his kids based on a ruling by the late judge. As Samantha digs, however, it seems less likely that this was a crime of passion or anger. The second Kincaid mystery by the daughter of James Lee Burke is a very clever whodunit long on red herrings, shadowy motives, and sly humor. The author's background as a former deputy DA in Portland lends gritty ambience to this modern parable of greed and ambition. Wes LukowskyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved