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Unholy City: A Claire Codella Mystery Hardcover – November 7, 2017
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"A clever, twisted, and utterly gripping read. Carrie Smith has created a winner of a series, and this new chapter may be the most surprising one yet."
―Alison Gaylin, USA Today bestselling author What Remains of Me
"Smith's first-rate police procedural provides plenty of likely suspects and a clever detective."
“Smith bolsters her seemingly straightforward procedural with well-developed characters...Readers will want to see more of the capable Codella."
"Sharp [and] fast-moving... A sure bet for fans of police procedurals."
―RT Book Reviews
"Smith’s deft contrast of emotion and tone is one of the many strengths of this impressive work of crime fiction."
Praise for Forgotten City:
WINNER OF THE 2017 KILLER NASHVILLE READERS’ CHOICE AWARD
“ Timely, heartbreaking, and compelling―Forgotten City is unforgettable.”
―Hank Phillippi Ryan, Anthony, Agatha and Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning author of Say No More
" Solid...Smith writes with sensitivity and nuance."
"This well-crafted police procedural is recommended for admirers of Robin Burcell or Alafair Burke."
“Steadfast police work is the key to success in Smith’s second…[A] superb plot.”
―RT Book Review, 4 Stars
“Claire Codella…is a terrific character with a rich, complex backstory. For readers who like police procedurals, this is a good one…A real page-turner. The writing is crisp and the story is solid.”
―Seattle Book Review
“Forgotten City is…tailor made for readers who enjoy their procedurals and detective-centred mysteries brisk and intelligent…Tightly plotted, thoroughly engaging.”
―Fab Book Reviews
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Following a vestry meeting, Rose Bartruff discovers Philip’s body in the church’s herb garden. Fellow committee member Dr. Susan Bentley performs CPR to no avail. Detective Brian Haggerty catches the case, but upon discovering Philip’s death was due to foul play, his former partner and current girlfriend Detective Claire Codella is called in to investigate. Immediately discovering the body of church secretary, Emily Flounders, Claire adds Detective Eduardo Munoz to her team. Between the three detectives, they interview Roger Sturgis, Peter Linton, Vivian Wakefield, Rector Anna Brookes, Todd Brookes and Stephanie Lund. While they do not immediately uncover a viable suspect or motive for the murders, Claire is certain that, other than Rose, no one is being completely honest with them. Will Codella, Haggerty and Munoz uncover the truth before the killer strikes again?
Although she is completely recovered from her cancer treatments, Claire continues to navigate her often contentious relationship with her boss Lt. Dennis McGowan. Ducking him as much as possible, she concentrates on interviewing suspects and following leads as she, Haggerty and Munoz try to zero in on what happened during the vestry meeting at the church. Feeling confident Rose is the only person from the meeting who is not hiding anything, Claire wants to know what happened during a crucial fifteen minute block of time when Rose was out of the room. Haggerty feels like Anna might be their weakest link since it obvious she has something to get off her chest, but will she find the courage to spill her secrets? Anna’s husband Todd was not present at the meeting but his sudden appearance during the investigation puts him on the suspect list too. Long time member and junior churchwarden, Vivian is upset about Philip’s plans to raise much needed revenue, but would she murder him to protect the church? Vivian’s nephew-in-law Roger is definitely hiding something, but how far would he go to keep his secret from being discovered? Susan is agonizing over what the murder investigation will reveal about her life, but is she responsible for killing Philip? Peter is furious that his proposal to bring in money through the cemetery and crematorium is struck down but is he angry enough to kill Philip for presenting another means for raising money?
With three puzzling murders, a vast pool of suspects and no obvious motive, Unholy City is an intriguing police procedural. Despite juggling her new romance with Haggery and her tense relationship with McGowan, Claire remains intensely focused on uncovering the truth about Philip and Emily’s deaths. The investigation moves at an even pace with Carrie Smith cleverly concealing the killer’s identity and motive for the murders until the novel’s exciting, action-packed conclusion. I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend this outstanding addition to the Claire Codella Mystery series to fans of the genre.
I received a complimentary copy for review.
At the beginning of Unholy City, the third in the Claire Codella series by Carrie Smith, Det. Haggerty is called out late one night to investigate a murder at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on the Upper West side of Manhattan, he knows he’ll need help. Det. Codella is assigned, and she quickly finds a second body outside the church.
Working on the theory that the killer must be one of the six church members present at the time of the murders, the detectives investigate, reminiscent of a good game of Clue, to determine who had the motive, means, and opportunity to carry out the murders.
Ms. Smith's Codella Series is often classified as police procedural, and that is not inaccurate as detectives work methodically to solve murders. But it would be unfair to readers and to Ms. Smith’s work to discount the characters that she has developed, particularly Claire Codella. This passage, early in Unholy City, demonstrates how Ms. Smith is able to expertly fuse the fast-moving, page turning pace of the police procedural with the development of character.
“Nothing compared to an all-encompassing homicide investigation. To Codella, it was the ultimate form of self-expression, a pursuit that required the use of all your senses, stamina, and mental powers. You pieced together the solution to a crime like a master builder. Your bricks were forensic evidence; careful chronologies of dates, times, and places; the confirming and contradictory accounts of witnesses; suspects’ unintended slips of the tongue. And you arranged these blocks with the stiff mortar of analytical reasoning to erect a solid, impenetrable wall of truth that could withstand the forces of dispute and denial.”
Det. Codella is certainly the protagonist, but the other characters aren’t without depth. Each of the six suspects is dynamic and complicated, able to compel sympathy and ire.
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