It’s been over a decade since Stefan Kopriva was on the River City Washington Police Force. The years have not dimmed the harsh memories of many inside or outside law enforcement regarding Kopriva. The years have not been kind to Kopriva either as he can’t forget the past any more than anyone else. He lived it and is acutely aware, even when his body isn’t hurting with every step, of what his actions cost him and others.
Brawling at the local hockey game hadn’t been the plan. But the brawl happened and because of that Kopriva runs into Matt Sinderling. Back long ago they both had been in high school doing their own things. They weren’t friends, didn’t hang out with each other, or have any real contact other than passing each other in the hall.
In the here and now, Matt has a 16 year old daughter who has run away. Matt can’t find her and wants Kopriva’s help. Matt figures a former cop will do better looking for Kris than those active on the River City Police Force. Kopriva knows full well how little the police will do on the case and also knows that he is no way the best option for Matt. But, Matt is heartbreakingly desperate and does not care that Kopriva isn’t licensed as a private investigator or anything else. All he wants is his little girl, who has grown up to be quite the seductive beauty, back home alive. Kopriva eventually agrees and begins a case that will test him physically and mentally on violence filled tour of the underbelly of River City.
What has always set the Frank Zafiro novels and short stories apart from many is his ability to pull you completely into his world. Not only does the author have an extensive background in police work, he brings the job alive to readers in ways not often seen in mystery fiction. Not just what happens at work but the repercussions at home.
Such is the case here where he has resurrected his tragic everyman figure Stefan Kopriva. First seen in Under a Raging Moon the Kopriva character has always been intense and complicated. That carried forward into Heroes Often Fail and continues here in Waist Deep: A Stefan Kopriva Novel. A novel that explores what the outcome of those two books had on various other characters in relation to Kopriva while adding yet more depth and nuance to the Kopriva character.
The result is another intense and very good read that borders on the noir designation. Frank Zafiro often writes of dark things and this is another case of that and therefore the book is not a light read in any sense. It is also yet another case of why Frank Zafiro is building an incredible career and deserves to be on your reading radar.
WAIST DEEP: A Stefan Kopriva Novel
Paperback (also available on the Kindle and audio)
Material supplied by the author a very long time ago in exchange for my objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2012