Friday, July 06, 2012

When work comes home with you

FALLEN ANGELS by Connie Dial: Captain Josie Corsino is a good detective who has turned into a good supervisor: "She hadn't been to roll call for a few weeks, and she knew the uniformed patrol officers liked to have her there so they could find out what was going on in their division, especially on mornings like this. Besides, a few minutes with them always left her energized. Half an hour later, she had answered every question she could about the morning's events and made a mental list of all the officers' complaints, including those problems she couldn't solve. It was important to make contact because their lives were tied to her." Out of the trenches since promotion, she stays connected to her subordinates, but a challenging case calling into question whom she can trust will push her further into danger than any captain should be. When a troubled young actress is found murdered in a well-known party house, Josie faces pressure from above to keep a councilman's son out of it, though he is at least indirectly involved. Hints of corruption leave her with few officers above or below her rank to trust, and she skirts the edges of procedure to solve the murder with its tentacles reaching into organized crime, off-duty cops, and local politics before those involved can undertake a cover-up.

Josie has been promoted as high as she wants to be: "Any rank above captain had nothing important to do except create meaningless projects and audits, or find other ways to annoy cops with real jobs." Her personal life is falling apart, her husband going through a midlife crisis and her twenty-two-year-old son tangentially involved in her current investigation. She can trust almost no one at work or even at home. Her balance of family and police work makes her a compelling character, and when the two come into conflict, her resolution rings true.

Dial uses her extensive experience in the LAPD to inform and ground this novel and give the fictional department a well-rounded feel. I've enjoyed her Detective Mike Turner novels, INTERNAL AFFAIRS and THE BROKEN BLUE LINE, and Josie, as a captain and as a woman balancing family and police life, brings a fresh perspective.

Source disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher.

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