REVIEW: SOME DEGREE OF MURDER (Kindle Edition 2012)
AUTHOR: Frank Zafiro and Colin Conway
The story opens with Virgil Kelley arriving in River City by bus, carrying the kind of luggage you can’t easily bring on a plane, i.e., armed for bear. Kelley, a man with shady connections and a past, is on a mission to find his estranged daughter’s killer and deliver his own form of justice.
As it happens, Kelley’s daughter is one of two murder victims, whose cases are assigned to Detective John Tower of the River City Police Department. Tower, a recurring character in Frank Zafiro’s River City mysteries, is initially stumped for finding real clues or hard evidentiary leads in both cases. Given the similarities between the victims, he worries that a serial killer might be responsible. This would lead to further complicating his work, so Tower hustles to solve the cases, to avoid additional red tape and greater supervisory scrutiny. However, the further he delves into the matters, the more he finds to suggest the murders are linked in some way.
In this book, Zafiro explores Tower’s character and shows the pressure he lives and works under. Tower is a man driven by his work, while trying to maintain proper balance with his personal life. His relationship with his son and his hired caregiver, Teri, who he’s come to rely upon in more ways than one, shows his struggle to be a good father and person, while maintaining his professional standards.
Meanwhile, Kelley digs into the dirty details surrounding his daughter’s murder, while staying one step ahead of gangsters and cops alike. Kelley is unencumbered by family or obligation other than to an unseen boss, who’s granted him a weird form of sympathy leave to find the answers and dispense with the problem, so to speak. His investigation turns up information that the police might not be happy to see exposed.
Narrated in turns by each of the main characters, SOME DEGREE OF MURDER is the story of two men seeking justice as they believe it should be dispensed. This action-packed mystery and thriller entertains, while blowing the lid off the secrets and political infighting that cops must live with in order to stay in good graces with their own.