Thursday, December 28, 2017

Now We Are Dead by Stuart MacBride

Detective Chief Inspector Roberta Steele, who has been the terror of the police force for years, has been demoted down to a Detective Sergeant.  This occurred when she planted evidence against Jack Wallace who she knew was guilty of rape but could not prove her case.  Now she has a new team and her caseload consists of bringing to justice shoplifters and other petty criminals.  Her main sidekick is Tufty, a young policeman who is interested in physics and finding a girlfriend.

But Steele has not given up putting Wallace away.  Right now he has the upper hand, filing complaints against her whenever she encounters him and the administration is on his side and has forbidden her to be anywhere near him.  But the rapes are continuing and she knows, just knows, that he is behind them all. 

Otherwise, her cases are varied.  An old lady is being terrorized by a loan shark after she borrowed money to get her pet dog to the vet.  A toddler is left for several days in an apartment when his mother overdoses on drugs.  Two other young children are found in a thieve's den where they are being trained to become thieves themselves.  It often seems that there is no way to stem the rising tide of crime but Steele is determined not to give up.  But can she make a difference before Wallace comes to take everything she holds dear?

Roberta Steele is one of the most memorable characters in crime fiction.  Although she is obnoxious and loud, a heart of gold beats underneath the rough exterior.  MacBride's ability to mix violent crime and a bit of humor that a policeman must have in order to survive is unparalleled and the reason his star shines so brightly in this genre.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

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