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The Dime Hardcover – February 14, 2017
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
One of the Best Books of the Year - Dallas Observer, BookRiot
"One of the most breathless, inventive, and be forewarned, violent suspense plots I've read in a long time."―Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air
"Exciting [and] moving . . . Grisly but likable"―Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal
"Terrific . . . Kent's own ability to avoid predictable outcomes and keep the reader on edge bodes well for future installments in this series."―Lloyd Sachs, Chicago Tribune
"The plot revolves around the Asian sex- and drug-trafficking trade run by the cutest little old lady you ever did see, but the broader appeal is Kent's offbeat humor, which pulls up reins just before it takes the story over a cliff."―Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review
"Kathleen Kent finds the noir side of Dallas. . . . Betty Ryhzyk [is] a beguiling protagonist. . . . [She] brings freshness and new energy to the role. . . . There's no shortage of Pine Curtain gothic in this landscape of mangy dogs, religious nuts and violent meth-heads."―Doug J. Swanson, Dallas Morning News
"Gritty and gripping, explosive and emotional, Kathleen Kent's The Dime grabs you from its opening scene and never lets go. Kent tears off the glossy facade of Dallas to show us a dark underbelly of crime. A great start from an exciting new series."
―Jeff Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of The First Order
"As hard-to-forget as Kent's main character is, the breakout star [is] the city of Dallas."―Rachel Williams, Dallas Observer
"Kent knows her craft. The Dime's tight plotting and masterful suspense is no surprise."―Ginni Beam, D Magazine
"[Kent] explodes into the crime genre with a detective who has all the qualities that'll make her stand out from the crowd. . . . Betty is [a] kick-butt detective. . . . Kent's brilliant, sometimes-gentle and humorous observations humanize and set this book apart."―Barbara Clark, BookPage
About the Author
Kathleen Kent is the author of three bestselling historical novels, The Heretic's Daughter, The Traitor's Wife, and The Outcasts. She is also the author of the short story "Coincidences Can Kill You," published in Dallas Noir, which was the inspiration for The Dime, her first work of crime fiction. Kent lives in Dallas, TX.
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Now, back to THE DIME. (Note that the title's significance is tipped late in the story and turns out to be very appropriate and effective.) First and foremost this is a fish out of water story. Betty Rhyzyk is a Polish, lesbian detective from Brooklyn who follows her partner to Dallas. There she encounters the realities of the Mexican drug cartels and their redneck meth-dealing competition. She also encounters some members of the DPD who are not used to dealing with Polish, Brooklyn lesbians as an everyday occurrence. Betty experiences what might be called soft bigotry but finally learns the eternal lesson in ensemble crime fiction: first and foremost these are cops; they are blue to the bone, have their partners' backs and respect skill and courage, no matter who is exhibiting it.
I do not want to spoil the plot, but the reader should be aware that the third act is one that plays a familiar chord. That chord is played very, very well, but the arcs of the plot are straightforward and ultimately quite predictable. The setting for the denouement is unique and very 'Texan' and the details are all utilized to good effect. There is an overarching theme in the novel, one that is depicted through the protagonist's relationship with her late uncle. Another blue-to-the-bone cop, she channels him when the chips are down and, as George Gipp would say, the boys and girls are up against it. This is done very nicely but, as with other salient features of the book the 'family of cops' theme is not an unfamiliar one.
The lesbian angle is again, somewhat predictable, as the search for a fresh and unique heroine ends up taking us to now familiar territory. I would say that that part of the story is neither distracting nor especially engaging. Readers who want to see how well that sort of casting can be executed should see Sandra Scoppettone's superb Lauren Laurano series.
My bottom line is that this is a rock solid piece of crime fiction, slightly more focused on character than procedure. While not strong on originality it is very strong in execution and will hold most readers' attention. The book has been nominated for an Edgar Award for best novel and is likely to be a good competitor in this field. Given the ticking of multiple identity politics boxes (Brooklynites, lesbians, East Europeans, depraved religious fundamentalists, Texans, meth addicts, et al.) the book is likely to have strong commercial potential but not necessarily extended historical resonance. Happily, some of the stereotypes here are not reinforced.