Henry Holt and Company, July 2005
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding
CLOSE CASE is Alafair Burke's third installment in the remarkable Samantha Kincaid Mystery Series. On her thirty-second birthday Samantha Kincaid, Deputy District Attorney in Portland, Oregon, lands a high-profile homicide case.
Percy Crenshaw, investigative reporter for The Oregonian, is found beaten to death in the carport of his elite Hillside condo. His death follows a night of street riots and demonstrations caused by the police shooting, a few days earlier, of Delores Tompkins. Delores was an unarmed, African-American mother of two. Both cases will come under the glare of the media circus and land in Samantha Kincaid's lap.
When Detective Mike Calabrese, her boyfriend's partner, gets a confession from a suspect for Crenshaw's murder using questionable tactics, her relationship with live-in lover Chuck Forbes becomes a bit complicated. Kincaid finds herself caught between her professional ethics and personal loyalties.
CLOSE CASE strikes a nice balance between serious fiction and Kincaid's entertaining personal life. Samantha is an energetic and engaging character. She's a smart woman who is willing to take risks for the things she believes in, yet vulnerable enough to shed a few tears. I truly enjoyed this character and was pleased to find she isn't hard-bitten or cynical. In fact, she is adorably sappy about her French bulldog, Vinnie. It's through her eyes that we view the complicated legal developments and unfolding mystery surrounding these two deaths. If you are looking for a realistic crime drama packed with likable characters, you can count on Ms. Burke to deliver.
JUDGMENT CALLS (May 2003) was Alafair Burke's debut novel featuring Samantha Kincaid, followed by MISSING JUSTICE (June 2004). Burke has a background in the legal profession as a former district attorney in Portland. A graduate of Stanford Law School she teaches at Hofstra Law School. Alafair is the daughter of best-selling crime fiction writer, James Lee Burke.
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