Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dead Connection by Alafair Burke (review #117)

Dead Connection by Alafair Burke

This is a mystery I discovered while shelving at my library job. She was one of the authors that motivated me to start my own challenge (A-Z Mystery Author Challenge). She has written atleast five books, in two series, and I thought, There are so many authors like this that I have not read. What is stopping me? The large number of them? Sure, I suppose but that just makes me more curious. Why do we only know James Patterson? Janet Evanovich? Sue Grafton?
No, there is nothing wrong with these guys. They write just fine but what about these little guys, plugging away writing intricate mystery series of their own?
I want to know about THEM.

Alafair Burke was a good pick. She is the daughter of James Lee Burke, a well known mystery author of the Dave Robicheaux books. She is a professor of criminal law and works directly with police departments. Her experience working in these areas definitely comes out in her book.

I was intrigued with this series for another reason and that is because it is set in NYC. I am such a fan of cop shows set in New York. Law and Order, I'm all over! I realized that I don't read a lot of mysteries that are actually set in the Big Apple. The city becomes its own character.
Ellie Hatcher is the leading lady, a rookie detective with a shaky past. Her father, also a cop, lost his life in search of a serial killer. Wrongly labeled a suicide, Ellie tries to carry on knowing her father's killer will never be brought to justice.

Her known past is what leads her to begin work on a case involving FirstDate, an online dating service. She is brought in to work with seasoned detective, Flann on hunting for a possible serial killer targeting single women in the city.

This book really nailed it. Burke has a way with tweaking the story and letting it all play out so well. It wasn't too raw or too emotional or too suspenseful or too tough. It was real. The steps within an investigation, the breaking down of each suspect, the use of different technologies. It all seemed very matter of fact and true to the world of detectives. (like I know? really...HA!) I liked that Ellie was down to earth and pretty normal, considering. She was good looking but she didn't know it. She was smart and she let it show but it wasn't condescending. She was really dedicated and took her job seriously. She wasn't afraid to question and she wasn't afraid to lean in and get dirty.

This was going to be on my list a little later this year but then I got the opportunity to review the latest in this series, 212, for a blog tour in June. I snapped this up to get a feel for the character of Ellie and I am so glad I did. I look forward to continue reading this series.
Angel's Tip and 212 are the next two books in the line up.

Her website is really fun to read too. Burke seems to have a wicked sense of humor and her posts have been a blast to read through. Check it out.

Rating: 5/6
If you want a good mystery with lots of solid detective work, smart characters, bad ass bad guys, and a gritty back drop of NYC, this is your book. Ellie is a new gal I am excited to read more of and watch her grow as a detective.

Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Senator said...

ooo yummy! Great review!

Have you ever read the early Scarpetta books by patricia cornwell? AWESOME!

Ryan said...

I'm going to have to check her books out. Thanks for introducing me to a new author, at least for me.