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by Kathleen Kent
Mulholland, February 2017
352 pages
ISBN: 0316311030

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

THE DIME is the first in a new series by Kathleen Kent, who has previously written several historical novels. Her protagonist, the redheaded tough cop originally from Brooklyn and now heading up a team in Dallas, Betty Rhyzyk, has moved to find a balance in her life with her girlfriend, Jackie. Jackie's family is not welcoming to Betty, whom they see as corrupting Jackie, so while Betty fights crime, she also fights to fit into Jackie's life in Texas.

Betty has brought her New York brashness to Texas along with impressive policing skills, and at the start of the book, she applies both to a drug bust that goes terribly wrong. As the plot progresses, things go from bad to worse and Betty finds herself caught up in the plot of a drug-dealing, bible-wielding cult leader. Throughout the book, her subconscious speaks to her through the voice of Benny, her dead New York cop uncle. The dime of the title plays a key role as she attempts to escape the clutches of the cult.

In spite of Betty's ability to keep her wits about her and fight off her foes, there is a bit too much of a fem-jep ending for my taste. She is portrayed as a very hard woman surviving against great odds for most of the book, so the ending seems too coincidental to really work. Deep characterization is not the strength of this book; rather, the fast-paced adrenaline-fueled plot is what moves it forward. The personal aspects of Betty's life definitely take second place to her role as a cop, so I would say that her efforts to find more of a work-life balance haven't panned out thus far. Perhaps Kent is leaving this aspect of Betty's life open for further development in future books in the series.

The Dallas setting, hot, gritty, and laced with drugs, is well described. Rich socialites unwittingly mix with drug dealers while walking one's dog can become a dangerous activity even in the best of neighborhoods. What goes on behind closed doors can be unexpectedly frightening, and even the most well-planned efforts to rid the streets of the effects of Mexican cartels can go horribly wrong.

It would appear that Betty Rhyzyk has a great deal of work before her, both on a personal and professional level. This bodes well for a continuing series.

Sharon Mensing is the Head of School of Emerald Mountain School, an independent school in the mountains of Colorado, where she lives, reads, and enjoys the outdoors.

Reviewed by Sharon Mensing, September 2016

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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