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Off-Street Parking Hardcover – Large Print, March 1, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
At the start of this run-of-the-mill contemporary police procedural from British veteran James, best known for his Harpur and Iles series (Easy Streets, etc.), Det. Constable Sharon Mayfield spots the horribly disfigured corpse of Claude Huddart in a parked car. Suspecting that Huddart was a police informant, the ambitious young officer hopes to use this information to advance her career. Before long, Mayfield begins to wonder whether her superiors in the force may be involved in Huddart's death. James often renders his heroine's thoughts as numbered bullet points, a device that some will find more distracting than edifying. In addition, the lazy shorthand the characters sometimes speak (Spying can be thought of as an odious trade, yet think of Alec Guinness in Smiley's People on DVD) can be off-putting. The main plot, which centers on official corruption, is nothing new, and a lead who's more Bridget Jones than Insp. Jane Tennison doesn't bode well for any sequels. (Mar.)
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Detective Constable Sharon Mayfield, a not particularly likable person, has already been passed over for the fast-track cop course, but she is determined to get ahead. On her way to a routine call, she comes upon a gruesome and bizarre sight: a man is slumped over the wheel of his car, his face carved to ribbons, and the doors of the car glued shut. Sharon thinks this case could be her big break, but she is quickly sidelined by her boss. So she decides to investigate on her own. She soon learns that the victim was a “fixer” for the local drug gangs and looks for leads in bars and clubs. Veteran James departs here from his acclaimed Bill Slider series, but his trademark terse style, taut and sinister plotting, dark humor, and flawed characters are still very much in evidence. Engaging reading for mystery fans who like their crime stories gritty, realistic, and unsettling. --Emily Melton
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