Title: Bury the Past: A Detective Penley Mystery by James L’Etoile
Genre: Currently #6197 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: To be released December 12, 2017
Source: Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley
Title and Cover: Bury the Past – Cover hints jail cell block behind title letters
I admit that the setting of Sacramento, California (unusual venue) caught my eye and drew me into downloading this offering from the author and Crooked Lane Books as we lived there almost 45 years. When we moved to Sacramento, it was a low key state capital with Sac State (where hubby was to graduate), and had two active air bases that became important to me after he joined the Navy rather than be inducted into the Army in the middle of Viet Nam. It was a quiet, unpresupposing little town; certainly not the wild, graft-riddled hub of degradation depicted here. (Yes, I suppose we were young and naive.)
Bury the Past follows Sacramento Police Detectives John Penley and Paula Newberry as they investigate stolen street drugs and a homicide that appears connected. The first chapter begins the investigation into the homicide and quickly leads to a conspiracy that includes dirty cops and an old takedown.
Sherman, the leader of the corrupt group and ex-cop, is planning retribution against those who caught and stopped him and Newberry surfaces at the top of his payback list. Paula Newberry was formerly with IA when Sherman was caught and now partnered with Penley begins to recognize a few names and faces that are turning up deceased with one little added wrinkle–her DNA.
As circumstantial evidence mounts against her, the heat is on to prove she is not involved while continuing to try and find the one who is. Now the indictment shifts and the stress mounts inward.
Okay, I must also admit to mounting dismay at the picture that is painted of the California capital. And this is not a new plot. I’m sure there are bad apples in every force. I’m aware of the severe change in the atmosphere of the country after ‘Nam and it only got worse as the uncontrolled population exploded.
It’s a dark picture of conditions, areas, and interchanges between the populace and the police. Dialogue is so natural, it’s scary. Paula is a bad-assed and strong, single female. She has poured heart and soul into restoring a Victorian downtown. Penley is married and having more than his usual family drama issues including a (formerly) sickly son and a teenage daughter hitting those hormones in spades. His wife is at her wits end. (So been there, done that.) It’s good Penley is strong, steady, and good at negotiation. Their lieutenant tries hard to work with them and issues some latitude.
Is it a good police procedural? The best–there are details here only one who really knows, would know (and the author does have that experience). Co-protagonists Penley and Paula make a good team–they complement each other and Penley supports his partner, even through what seems damning evidence. The antagonist, Sherman, is crazy smart–knows how to use the system to his advantage.
The plot begins to plod somewhat in the middle and then heats up to a crashing climax in the state capital rotunda full of tourists, lobbyists, politicians and support staff. Paula Newberry, aware that her very life and livelihood is at stake pursues Sherman in a tension-filled race through to the capture.
I downloaded this ebook from Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley and sincerely appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for all fans of crime, thriller and suspense, and, most especially, police procedurals.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars
The Author: (From Amazon Author page) James L’Etoile has twenty-nine years of experience in prisons and jails across the country. An experienced Associate Warden, Chief of Institution Operations, Hostage Negotiator and Director of Parole with a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice, L’Etoile draws upon his background to bring his crime fiction to life. He resides in Cameron Park, CA with his wife, Ann-Marie. This is his second Detective Penley mystery. ©2017 Virginia Williams