Saturday, August 3, 2019

ARC Review: In the Line of Fire by R. J. Noonan

In the Line of Fire
Author: R. J. Noonan
Series: Laura Mori Mystery
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (August 13, 2019)

Description: In the vein of Lisa Jackson and Julia Maynard, a dark and compulsive mystery about secrets too big for the small town’s britches.

When secrets are too big to buy, it’s worth killing to bury them.

Growing up, Laura Mori was constantly overshadowed by her far more successful siblings. She had a tough time appeasing her parents, and now that she’s a police officer, recently promoted to detective, they still seem less than fazed. Everyone knows a cop’s salary―it’s meager, to say the least. But Laura has found her calling―she was born to be a detective and is determined to prove it, if not to her parents, then at least to the boys club that is Sunrise Lake PD. She sticks out like a sore thumb as the only young female minority, but she has resolved to at least seem like an unshakeable thumb.

The next case file on her desk turns out to be a bank heist and it should be easy enough, but what starts off as a one-and-done job quickly begins to seem too by-the-book and oddly like a notorious series of deadly bank hits from years past dubbed Twilight. But it’s a dead end―Twilight is only ever mentioned in hushed tones, and there’s little to no history on it in the department. And then she receives her first sign, of many more to come, that her investigation is not welcome. Alongside her partner Z and stunningly attractive FBI agent Nick Derringer, she begins to pull on the frayed thread, and that’s when she sees the bloody writing on the wall: the only other young female cop on the force was KIA during Twilight.

With too much on the line to lose, including her own life, Laura must get to the bottom of the case and fast, or she, too, will become history.

My Thoughts: Detective Laura Mori is a newly promoted, very young, very inexperienced member of the Sunrise Lake police department. She's Japanese American. She has to contend with the entrenched old boys' network and deal with her own anxiety issues and fear that she isn't living up to her parents' expectations. However, she is also a very good detective with a gift for getting information from people.

When the Sunrise Lake Bank is robbed, it brings back memories of a series of bank robberies three years earlier that resulted in the death of a police officer. Her partner Z was Franny Landon's partner and still suffers from PTSD and amnesia. When Laura sees common features in the old robberies and the current robberies, no one wants her to open up the old case. Z and the old boys all discourage her. However, she investigates anyway with the blessing of her lieutenant only to find that the files are in disarray and both reports and evidence seem to be missing.

Meanwhile, Z is bogged down with a case at the local assisted living home. Someone is stealing little things from many of the residents and busy working with psychologist Dr. MacKenzie to try to recover his lost memories and deal with his PTSD. Laura can't go to him about the events of the earlier robberies because those are some of the memories he can recall.

With the assistance of handsome FBI Agent Nick Derringer, Laura investigates all sorts of irregularities at the Sunset Lake PD. She also develops a crush on Nick which is a first for her. Laura seems very young for her age and rather inexperienced despite her success at a previous police investigation (WHERE THE LOST GIRLS GO) and very much lacking in self-confidence.

I found this police procedural to be rather unrealistic and the mystery pretty easy to solve. Most of the villains were one-sided. I did like and feel sorry for retired officer Donny Gallagher who suffers from dementia and was a pawn of other corrupt police officers.

Fans of police procedurals who aren't looking for gritty realism and with young female detectives will enjoy this one.

Favorite Quote:
I didn't want to doubt my own capabilities, but in the dark crevice of the night, worry needled its way under the door. Why had the lieutenant picked me as lead investigator? Could Cranston be right? Was I too young and inexperienced to head up this investigation?
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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