As someone who was in the newspaper business for more than 16 years of my adult working life (and have continued since retirement on a freelance basis), any time I can get my hands on a story about someone else in the industry, I'll give it a serious look. Throw in a little mystery, a little murder, and by golly, bring it on. Such is the case here; lead character Julia Gooden is a successful crime reporter in Detroit, and murder makes headlines from the beginning.
Early on, I was reminded how much life in the Motor City mirrors that of Youngstown, Ohio, where, ironically, the newspaper for which I served as managing editor for 14 years is located. Youngstown, too, was decimated by steep declines in the steel and auto industries and continues to struggle to get back on its feet. Ah, I said - another "connection" to this book solidified.
This is the second in what I presume will be a continuing series (I also read and enjoyed the first, The Last Time She Saw Him). Here, Julia is separated from her husband, Assistant District Attorney David Tanner, but in part because they have two young sons, they're trying to get back together. Julia has been chasing a story about elusive gangster Nick Rossi, and now, he's finally going on trial in a case her husband is prosecuting. But as a key witness for the prosecution is escorted up the courthouse steps to testify, a bomb goes off - killing the witness as well as several innocent bystanders and putting David in the hospital.
After that incident, Julia's boss orders her off the case, but she vows to keep investigating on her own with help from Detroit Police Department Detective Raymond Navarro (not incidentally, her boyfriend prior to her husband). She turns to her sources and ferrets out information on Rossi - she's convinced he ordered the bombing - that lead her to dangerous places and people who would be happy to see her rubbed out of the picture. Along the way, there's plenty of action (some of which, IMHO, seemed a bit too tightly choreographed, almost to the point of unbelievability). A number of nexpected twists, though, kept things very interesting.
In hindsight, despite our career and Type A personality similarities, I realized I never totally warmed up to Julia herself. Mostly, I think, that's because she insisted on putting herself in situations any other person as intelligent as she is would have had sense enough to stay away from (especially when she's got young kids). On the other hand, there's her friend Navarro; without question, he's a keeper.
In all, the book is well written and entertaining, and I'll be watching for the next installment. My thanks to the publisher for once again allowing me to read an advance review copy.
Duplicity by Jane Haseldine (Kensington, March 2017); 352 pp.