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The Commission: A Sam Kincaid Mystery (Sam Kincaid Series Book 1) by [Norman, Michael]
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The Commission: A Sam Kincaid Mystery (Sam Kincaid Series Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 145 customer reviews

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Length: 249 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This impressive debut from a criminal justice professor and former lawman exudes verisimilitude from start to finish. When Levi Vogue, chairman of the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole, is gunned down execution-style in his Salt Lake City driveway, Sam Kincaid, chief of the Special Investigations Branch of the Utah Department of Corrections, investigates, along with homicide detective Lt. Kate McConnell. An amateurish ransacking of Vogue's house indicates premeditated murder rather than a real burglary, and Kincaid suspects Charles "Slick" Watts, a violent ex-con with a personal grudge against Vogue. But before Watts can be arrested, his body turns up, an apparent suicide. The case gets complicated when the medical examiner finds that Watts was murdered, and Kincaid and McConnell are compelled to look elsewhere—namely to a group of corrupt state prison employees known as "the Commission." Norman is off to a fine start with this alternately gripping and repellent crime novel. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Sam Kincaid, head of the Special Investigations Branch of the Utah Department of Corrections, is summoned when Levi Vogue, chairman of the Utah Board of Pardons and Paroles, is gunned down, execution style, in his driveway. Concerned that a paroled perpetrator with a grudge may have killed Vogue, Kincaid teams up with Salt Lake City Police Department Lieutenant Kate McConnell to solve the crime and lessen the political fallout. The two think they have the case wrapped up, but they discover their chief suspect is dead, leading to a widening of the investigation as Sam and Kate uncover a cesspool of corruption in the prison system. Sam, a divorced father, quickly becomes a target, along with his aunt and young daughter. Fast pacing, plot twists, engaging characters, and an inside view of the prison system combine in this strong series debut. Sue O'Brien
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 556 KB
  • Print Length: 249 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (May 25, 2011)
  • Publication Date: May 25, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003VRZIP6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #728,688 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Chairman of the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole Levi Vogue is coming home from a rendezvous with a prostitute that he has been seeing for a year and in a happy mood. That feeling is shattered when someone outside his home fires a shotgun killing him while taking off half his face. At first it looks like the prostitute's violent boyfriend who just got released from prison is the best suspect but he has an airtight alibi.

Sam Kincaid, Chief of the Special Investigations Branch of the Utah Departments of Corrections, teams up with homicide detective Lieutenant Kate McConnell to work the case. They find an ex-con Charles Watts who has a grudge against the victim, in his car an apparent suicide with a note that looks to be in his handwriting. An autopsy proves that Watts was murdered and his death made to look like a suicide. Although they found the man who killed Vogue they don't know who was pulling his strings and when they try to find the forger they discover he is a murder victim as well. It looks like a group of conspirators are tying up all loose ends. They believe the conspirators are part of the system but finding out who they are puts Sam and his family in danger.

This is not a prison drama but a crime thriller about people who use the system and the criminal element for their own gain. Sam and Kate are fascinating characters who have to deal with state politics and criminals in order to find out who are the puppet masters. The author takes the reader through a step by step investigation that feels realistic yet is very fascinating to the layman.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover
Sam Kincaid, Chief of the Special Investigations Branch of the Utah Department of Corrections (DofC), is called in to work with the police on the homicide of Levi Vogue, Chairman of the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole. For the DofC, the fear is Vogue having been killed by a resentful parole. This appears to be the case when the trail leads to ex-con "Slick" Watts. Watts turns up as an apparent suicide until forensics pronounce it murder. For some, the trail could mean professional disaster; for Sam, personal tragedy.

It took me into a part of the justice system I don't believe I'd ever read before. Sam is well-developed as a character, with a personal life as a single dad. The child is there and believable, but doesn't get in the way of the story. I appreciated the Utah setting, with Sam working in Salt Lake City but living the Park City, but would like to see the author do more with the setting the future books. The dialogue was a bit stiff, for my taste, but not terrible. All-in-all, I enjoyed this debut by Norman and would certainly read his next book.
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Format: Hardcover
THE COMMISSION

By Michael Norman

Poisoned Pen Press, 2007,

246 pages, $24.95

ISBN: 1590583586

Review by Carl Brookins

The novel opens with a horrific event. The Chair of the Utah Board of Pardons is shotgunned to death in the driveway of his upscale home. Enter Sam Kincaid, head of the Special Investigations unit of the Pardons Board. Enter also a slick accomplished homicide detective named Kate McConnell.

The novel is a well-put together police procedural with the usual in-fighting and tensions between cops, different agencies, and the politicians who run them. In a lot of these agencies, readers can assume that the leaders will interfere with the investigation in attempts to avoid scandal, dump malfeasance on others, and gain points for the selves. That happens in this novel which is not in least out of the ordinary.

It does turn out that the roots of the plot turn on some sexual kinkyness, a number of bad guys in unusual places, and behind the scenes machinations by wealthy members of the local society. The story is told by an author who clearly read a book on how not to write a police procedural, how to be careful about changes in point of view, and certain techniques to keep the plot moving. It's all carefully and a little too obviously handled, and occasionally the author lapses into professorial pedantism.

Having said all that, the principal characters, Kincaid and McConnell are interesting enough to entice a reader to follow them into harms way. The story has a strong ring of plausibility and the author's knowledge of police agencies and parole boards comes through. The novel is a solid, capable, first effort.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have rated this three stars, but probably would give it 3 1/2 if possible.
This police procedural opens with the shotgun murder of Levi Vogue, Chairman of the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole. And it turns out that Vogue likes to live on the edge sexually and is not the squeaky clean Mormon that people in the community think he is.

Because of Vogue's job, Sam Kincaid of the Utah Department of Corrections investigative arm, is called in to work with Kate McConnell, a homicide detective with the Salt Lake police department. Their investigation begins with the sexual kinkiness and then widens out step-by-step to the rottenness inside the Utah prison system. Tension is added because the victim's family is connected enough to put political pressure on the investigators' higher ups. The office politics involved seemed realistic enough.

A primary weakness is in the characterization of the peripheral characters to the well-done Kincaid, especially the stereotyping of his daughter and his aunt. McConnell, who he becomes romantically involved with, could have been done a little better and probably will be in further novels starring the two of them. Dialogue could be tighter in places also.

But these points are minor compared to the denouement. The killer tries to take revenge on Kincaid -- a little trite -- as he narrows in by taking his family hostage. During the scene where Kincaid finally gets free, the killer reveals all and nicely summarizes everything up. Needs to be much better.
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