Saturday, December 1, 2018

LAPD Homicide Detective Davie Richards Draws To Complex Cases in This Novel from Patricia Smiley

Happily, the Pacific Area of the LAPD has gone a few weeks without a new homicide case to investigate. Accordingly, the division's boss, Frank Giordano, has compiled a list of cold cases and assigned his detectives to work the cases until something fresh comes in. 

Detective Davina "Davie" Richards draws two cases. The first involves the stabbing death two years earlier of a gangbanger named Javier Hernandez. The detectives who initially investigated the case concluded that Hernandez had been killed as the result of a drug dispute, but not surprisingly, none of Hernandez's neighbors or associates were willing or able to tell the police anything about the crime. Richards decides to re-interview some of the people close to Hernandez, most importantly, his girlfriend who was present on the day of his death, but she's not holding out a lot of hope about closing this one.

Richards finds the second case assigned her immediately more interesting. The potential victim was a thirty-four-year-old woman named Sara Montaine. Montaine walked into a gun store at a time when she was the only customer present. While the store owner was distracted, Montaine allegedly took a gun from a showcase and used it to kill herself. The initial investigation concluded that the death was a suicide, but there were inconsistencies in the evidence and so Davie's boss, tells her to take a fresh look at the case if she can find the time.

Of course she can.

Both Davie and the reader immediately understand that Montaine's apparent suicide will be a much more interesting case than that of a murdered drug dealer. In fairness, Richards will investigate both cases vigorously, but clearly the one that has hooked her is the Montaine case which will ultimately prove to be very complex. 

Davie Richards is bright, determined, and virtually tireless. She makes a very appealing protagonist and the reader is immediately drawn into her world and into the cases she's pursuing. The Montaine case takes a lot of surprising twists and turns, while the gangbanger's murder investigation is a bit more straightforward. But as Richards works her way deeper into each of the cases, she will antagonize some very dangerous people who have no qualms about taking whatever steps are necessary to prevent her from closing these cases. 

All in all, The Second Goodbye is a cleverly plotted and very entertaining novel that will keep a reader turning the pages quickly.

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