Thursday, November 16, 2023

Review: Face of Greed: A Detective Emily Hunter Mystery by James L’Etoile


Last week, Aubrey Nye Hamilton reviewed Face of Greed: A Detective Emily Hunter Mystery by James L’Etoile. If you have read her review, you know she liked it a lot. After setting up her review, I went looking for it at my local library with no luck. I went looking at NetGalley where I remembered recently seeing it offered. Oceanview Publishing still had it listed and so I requested it. Thankfully, it was instantaneously available with no gatekeeper delay and I was soon hooked. 


Detective Emily Hunter and Detective Javier Medina are working in Sacramento, California. In recent years she has been assigned to the Detective Bureau of the Sacramento Police Department. She is on call one evening when Lieutenant Ford, Watch Commander, calls her with an assignment. One is dead, one is injured, at what according to the initial report, is some sort of home invasion gone very wrong.


If that was not enough, both the Mayor and Chief of Police are already on scene. That means politics, powerful people, and probably pressure to get results quickly and quietly from on high. It is a cold evening this night in April and the neighborhood is clearly upscale where a murder just does not happen. But, it did this night, and Rodger Townsend is very much dead.


The deceased was fairly wealthy and had donated a considerable sum of money to Mayor Stone’s last campaign. Not only that, but Ridger Townsend was also the campaign manager. Those facts at least partially explain why the Mayor is involved. The Mayor makes it clear from the start he expects how the investigation is to be done and that includes leaving the widow, Lori Richardson, alone.


Something Detective Hunter is not willing to do as she follows the evidence and believes that Lori is involved all the way up to her beautiful face and then some. That puts her and her partner on a repeated collision course with the Mayor and her own internal police chain of command. She enjoys poking the bear with people of power and intends to do it regardless of how much it could cost her professionally or how it reflects on her partner.


At the same time, she is dealing with a serious issue at home as her elderly mother has dementia. Connie Hunter is 74 and slowly getting worse. How Emily Hunt will help her mother and whether she can or not she can is a major secondary storyline in the book.


An entertaining read, Face of Greed: A Detective Emily Hunter Mystery by James L’Etoile is a good police procedural. As Aubrey pointed out in hew review, it relies significantly on the trope of a smart good cop beset by incompetent supervisors. A hallmark of police procedurals and one that is long familiar to readers.


Despite that issue, the overall read is fast moving and highly entertaining. According to the note in the beginning of the digital ARC, there is a second one coming in the pipeline. I very much look forward to the read.


As noted in the review, my reading copy came from the publisher, OceanView Publishing, by way of a NetGalley ARC.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2023 

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