READ JULY 2013
ONLINE SUMMARY: In the dynamic double sequel to Shield of Justice and A Matter of Trust, Det. Sgt. Rebecca Frye struggles to return to duty after a near fatal shooting. Joining forces with enigmatic computer consultant J.T. Sloan, Rebecca accepts a temporary assignment with a Federal task force investigating an Internet child pornography ring. Rebecca’s obsession with finding her partner’s killer and her involvement in the multi-jurisdictional investigation threaten both her life and her new relationship with Doctor Catherine Rawlings. When Catherine becomes professionally involved and an attempt on the life of a task force member ensues, the pursuit of justice becomes a deadly race against time
MY REVIEW: I wrote a pretty positive review of Shield of Justice, the first book of Radclyffe’s Justice series., but I was surprised at how much more I enjoyed its sequel, In Pursuit of Justice. In thinking about this, I realized that the overall tone of the book seems markedly different. The mood of Shield… was really forbidding, with almost no relief throughout. Admittedly, the fact that the novel features a serial murderer contributes to this, but the mood bleeds over into the blossoming relationship between the Detective, Rebecca, and the psychiatrist, Catherine. Even the lovemaking scenes are kind of a downer.
Although Pursuit… also deals with another horrendous crime, child pornography, it feels lighter, somehow, and more of a pleasure to read. I still haven’t completely warmed to either Rebecca or Catherine, but they aren’t quite the dour personalities of the first book. Even their lovemaking isn’t as austere. The addition of Sloan, Michael, and Jason, all of whom I liked very much in the prequel, Matter of Trust, helped lighten the atmosphere until near the end. Really though, it’s the addition of two new characters, Sandy, a young prostitute who’s Rebecca’s confidential informant, and Dell, a uniformed officer assigned to the Task Force Rebecca is leading, that really improved things for me. They’re the most likeable of the six main characters, and, though they don’t have major time on stage here — sorry for the mixed metaphor — they’re both important to the plot. In addition, the relationship which seems to be developing between them is quite intriguing, given their respective professions. I’m looking forward to seeing what direction Radclyffe takes them in the next book, in which I hope they play a greater part.
Only one complaint: The ending is really unsatisfying. And while Radclyffe is hardy the sort of writer to create a cliffhanger just to get you to buy the next volume in the series, it does kind of feel that way. SPOILER — When the cops catch a purveyor of kiddie porn with his pants down, quite literally, the Feebs show up and make off with all the evidence, leaving Rebecca’s team nothing to show for their effort. The ending also leaves us with Michael having just suffered a devastating injury in an attack meant for Sloan. Things feel terribly incomplete, at least for me.
Nonetheless, the book is, as always with Radclyffe, very well-written technically, the characters are extremely engaging, the pacing is just right, and the plotting is solid, even despite the lack of closure. In Pursuit of Justice is definitely worth your time. (It would be a good idea to read the previous novels first, or Shield…, at least.)