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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Review - Sketch Me If You Can

I am just getting to this book now that the next one in the series has been released.  I am trying to shrink my TBR pile but it keeps growing.  I suspect that some of you may have the same dilemma.  Today we go to New York and follow a police sketch artist do some investigating on her own.

Author:  Sharon Pape

Copyright:  August 2010 (Berkley) 293 pgs

Series:  1st in  Portrait of Crime Mysteries

Sensuality:  n/a

Mystery Sub-genre:  Private Detective (paranormal)

Main Character:  Rory McCain - a police sketch artist

Setting:  Modern day, Suffolk County New York

Obtained Through:  Publisher for an honest review

Rory's beloved uncle Mac dies of a massive coronary one night and she has to accept that she inherited everything of his - no matter how painful.  She starts to clear out his PI files of active cases and notify the clients to hire somebody else while refunding their money.  But one client begs and pleads for her to finish his case because nobody else will.  Jeremy had hired Mac to investigate his sister, Gail's death. It had been ruled an accident but Jeremy insists she was murdered.  Gail was an in-demand high-end interior designer who had made plenty of enemies. Rory decides to refund his money and just look into it since she can't moonlight according to police department policy.

Rory had put it off but finally takes the plunge and moves into Mac's Victorian house only to find that a 1878 Federal Marshal's ghost occupies the place.  Ezekiel Drummond, aka Zeke, is stuck in the house where he was killed.  Apparently uncle Mac had partnered with the old-fashioned lawman to solve his cases.  Rory finds his outmoded ideas about women infuriating, but she can't deny that he knows criminal investigation well.  But when Zeke shares that he knows Mac was murdered rather than a natural heart attack kill him, and he thinks Gail's case got him killed they meld together as a dysfunctional team to get justice for Mac.

Rory (short for Aurora which she hates) is a lively character.  It seems overused to say "independent and smart" since more and more female characters are classified that way, but she really is.  Her character faces grieving her uncle's death as well as dissatisfaction with her job.  I found her logical yet hot tempered, especially with the outmoded mores of Zeke about women. I look forward to getting to know this character better.

The character of Zeke is fascinating with a temper of his own.  A few chapters are dedicated to his last case where he was hunting down a serial killer.  That story is not finished and I found I just had to read what happened to get him from Arizona to NY and killed in that house.  So I will be reading the next book shortly to find out more on that.  The flashback technique worked seamlessly and added to the page-turning quality of the story. Yes he is old fashioned, but that is the world he came from but he tries to adjust to Rory and her demands.  The friction between these two is funny and lively. The way this character is portrayed it isn't so much a paranormal story but a great twist to the standard mystery, really.

The plot is solid and the reader only knows what Rory and Zeke know.  I had a good idea of who the killer was but not a clue as to the motive for killing Gail and then Mac.  Even with my suspicion of whodunit I found that made the story more interesting as I followed Rory gaining more pieces to the puzzle.

The confrontation with the killer was tense and exciting without being improbable.  I liked the wrap-up to the story which sets Rory up for future mysteries. It made me hungry for the next book which I will be reviewing in just a few weeks.  This book is a great debut book with a solid premise.  The author set up the mystery and investigation like a practiced pro avoiding common pitfalls.  I will be following this series closely.

I found this interesting short video about a police sketch artist and wanted to share it.  I have often been fascinated how people can draw a person from only a description.

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