Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Review: The Menace of the Years: A River City Novel Frank Zafiro

As The Menace of the Years: A River City Novel begins it is December 27, 1999. The coming millennium means the threat of the Y2K phenomenon. For the men and women who serve and protect the citizens of River City, they are expected to do more with less. The budgetary climate is not only affecting morale, it is a having a negative impact on their police work.

It all begins with Officer Katie MacLeod on patrol at 3:26 in the morning.  While her new in car computer system is proving to be far more difficult than it is worth, the radios still work very well. She and several other units are dispatched on a home invasion burglary call. Katie MacLeod arrives first on the scene and due to violent circumstances underway on her arrival, she is forced to confront the suspects on her own.

In the wake of the aftermath, she is able to detain and arrest one suspect though three others get away. Part of the reason they escaped was the weather which slowed down some of the responding units as well as the ongoing manpower issues on the graveyard shift. If their immediate escape into the night is not bad enough, the fleeing suspects get an additional head start thanks to budgetary procedures that mandate detectives are not immediately called to the scene so as to avoid overtime pay. While the street patrol units will make every effort to start the case against the other suspects, much of that work will have to wait till normal business hours and the detectives that come on duty then.

That case and the resulting investigation as well as several other issues and cases are story plot points and the backdrop for The Menace of the Years: A River City Novel. Fifth in the series that began with the very good, Under A Raging Moon, the latest read continues to chronicle the lives on and off duty of the men and women of the River City Police Department. Unlike some of the other books in the series, the focus here is more aimed towards their on duty situations with minimal detail given to their private lives. As also goes on with the other books, some things are cast through the lens of suspects as well as family members involved in various cases. Readers see what the characters see and experience as the read shifts across the last few days of 1999 into those first few hours of 2000.

Reminiscent of the “Old Hill Street Blues” television series, these books, as well as the numerous short story collections, showcase the job and the lives of all those involved. The author has a decade of experience as a police officer and uses that knowledge to illustrate the issues that police officers face on daily basis. Though the book is set in 1999, the same issues of budgetary problems, racism, and the appropriate use of force, among others, are just as relevant to the world of today. While The Menace of the Years: A River City Novel  is the fifth in the series and does include some brief mentions of earlier events in the series, this book could easily be read by those who have not experienced the previous very good reads.

The Menace of the Years: A River City Novel is strongly recommended as are the other books in this series. Those books are Heroes Often Fail, Beneath A Weeping Sky, and leading to the one right before this one, And Every Man Has To Die.

The Menace of the Years: A River City Novel
Frank Zafiro
September 2018
eBook only
573 Pages

Digital ARC supplied by the author with no expectation of review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2018

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