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by M.C. Grant
Midnight Ink, September 2012
324 pages
ISBN: 0738734152

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

M C Grant (aka Grant MacKenzie) has a winning heroine in crime beat journalist Dixie Flynn. Her life in San Francisco is populated with colorful characters, from former lovers to current neighbors to city detectives. When Flynn is contacted in the middle of the night to cover the suicide of Diego Chino, it becomes personal. The San Francisco artist who once bedded the journalist has created his "final" work in the process of killing himself, but Dixie suspects

that there is more to the story than suicide.

Flynn upsets more than a few San Francisco bigwigs in her investigation of the story for her employer, an alternative weekly newspaper. Those who seek to halt her progress include the SF Chief of Police, as well as a wealthy art collector, who sends a messenger to collect the Chino artwork before the body has even been taken to the morgue.

Soon things heat up in the investigation, putting Flynn's own life in jeopardy. There's a near-miss car accident in Chinatown, a warehouse fire along the San Francisco Bay, and a burglar who breaks into her apartment. There's also planted evidence and mysterious notes that keep appearing at her apartment building.

It all builds into an unanticipated ending, but the journey is what really makes this book worth reading. The people and sites of San Francisco shine, and the quirkiness of San Francisco's character shows through on every page. The author has done an excellent job of making his readers care about the people and situations presented in the novel, from gruff bartenders to neighborhood pets.

Strangely enough, this is a cozy with a noir feel, an unusual combination of mystery sub-genres that works well in ANGEL WITH A BULLET (a somewhat misnamed book). For those who love a winning lead, Dixie Flynn is a tough but charming protagonist about whom many more enjoyable tales are likely to be told.

Christine Zibas is a freelance writer and former director of publications for a Chicago nonprofit.

Reviewed by Christine Zibas, October 2012

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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