I'm a sucker for a good police procedural so when a friend recommended this series, I picked up book #1. Glad I did.
Lt. Hank Donoghue & Det. Karen Stainer of the Glendale PD team up when new information surfaces concerning a cold case. Four years ago, a young Asian man named Martin Liu was murdered. Hank was briefly at the scene & remembers thinking something didn't feel right. In present day, a grad student has been assaulted after asking questions about the murdered man but for a different reason.
Josh, a PhD candidate in child psychiatry, is investigating Taylor, a 3 year old boy who claims to remember being Martin. His "memories" include people like his cousin Peter Mah, now a powerful figure in the local Triad or Asian crime brotherhood. He also remembers who killed him.
Hank & Karen aren't sure what to make of the kid but are chilled by his stories & by the fact that his mother Grace, Peter & Martin are cousins. The case is reopened & before they know it, they are competing with shadowy men from the Triad as they search for the killers. The cops want to arrest them, the Triad wants them dead.
That's all I'll say about the plot as it is complex with lots of twists to keep you guessing. Both cops (and the reader) get a crash course in Asian gang politics & it's not long before the bodies start to pile up. Side stories include conflicts inside the Triad, a possible leak within the police department & Karen's relationship with an FBI agent. Hanging over everything is Hank's continuing issue with IAD. He rose quickly through the ranks & made enemies among the old guard. One powerful superior in particular would like nothing better than to see him taken down a notch, a story line that continues into the next book.
It's a crowded genre full of recognizable names...Rankin, McDermid, Nesbo, Sanford, Connelly...and we all have our favourites so it can be difficult for a new author to get attention. Police procedurals have a lot in common so whether or not you continue a series may come down to how much you enjoy the characters.
I liked these two. They make an odd couple. Hank comes from money & managed to accumulate 3 university degrees by the time he was 25. Then, to his mother's despair, he became a cop. Quiet, smart & introspective, he approaches each investigation as a puzzle to be solved. Karen is a brassy Texan who has all the subtlety of a bull in a china shop. Foul mouthed & fearless, she pushes Hank's boundaries but somehow they compliment each other.
Each is dealing with prospective changes in their personal lives, as well. Hank is smitten by a lovely widow with ties to the case while Karen's fed boyfriend is pushing to make things more permanent.
All in all, a smart & well paced cop story that keeps you turning the pages to see who's left standing at the end. The cold case is tied up but several plot lines go unresolved & I'll definitely pick up the next one to see where they lead this entertaining pair.