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THE GOOD COP
by Brad Parks
Minotaur Books, March 2013
352 pages
$24.99
ISBN: 1250005523


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Carter Ross thinks he's on to a great story when he beats all other news people to the home of the widow of a dead cop. He sits with the family for hours listening to stories about what a great guy Darius Kipps was and leaves with the makings of a worthy tribute to a good cop, a devoted husband and father and an all around terrific guy. The story blows up in his face when he hears that the death has been ruled a suicide since his newspaper, the Newark Eagle-Examiner doesn't cover suicides. But Carter just can't reconcile the imagine of the husband/father/cop he got from his interviews with a dirty cop taking his own life. Something just doesn't feel right. Things get even murkier for Carter when a second cop from the same precinct also is found dead and that too is called a suicide.

This book is told from two points of view. Readers are mostly with Carter as he investigates the death of Darius Kipps. But interspersed throughout the book are clips of another tale that is told of an anonymous person who is sucked into an illegal gun running business. The two stories merge, but not until very close to the end. The reader knows what's coming, but the game is to figure out how and why the two are connected.

The thing I liked most about this book is the interactions Carter has with the cast of colorful characters, from the widow's pastor to the two interns. The scenes with these characters add comic relief to what is otherwise a dark story. Parks uses the two young men, "Ruthie" Ginsburg, an intern at the newspaper and Paul/Powell the student intern with the coroner's office, to create two of the funniest scenes I have recently read. To avoid having his intern accompanying him and thus reporting back to his boss what Carter is actually working on, he comes up with a busy work assignment for Ginsburg under the ruse of a public housing scandal. Meanwhile, Carter takes a middle of the night field trip with the coroner's intern to the morgue. In real life this probably would never happen unless, as was the case in this instance, there is a lot of alcohol involved first.

While Parks uses these colorful people to add some humor, the focus on the news story is never lost. Parks has written a tightly woven plot with enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing until the end.

Caryn St.Clair resides in University City, Missouri and is a former elementary school media specialist, President of the Parks Commission and a docent at the St.Louis Zoo.

Reviewed by Caryn St Clair, March 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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