High-Heel Blue

Diane K. Shah, Author
Diane K. Shah, Author Simon & Schuster $22.5 (400p) ISBN 978-0-684-81431-5
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56431-206-8
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Being a cop and a woman in the LAPD apparently means having to be twice as tough as the men in order to be thought half as good. Beautiful Brenden Harlow, the cop narrator of Shah's hardcover fiction debut, conveys that message throughout this rocky tale as her voice wavers between tough-babe bravado and cranky complaint. As a member of the elite Metro division, Brenden is picked to be a decoy for the ATM Stabber, a vile killer who grabs his victims at deserted L.A. cash machines. Yet, because she's a woman, she can't get anyone to listen to her brainstorms about who the killer might be. Even when she unearths two serious suspects, she must watch helplessly as her colleagues move in all the wrong directions. Making life even harder for Brenden is her husband, gorgeous TV actor Jack Hayes, who has a serious cocaine problem. Ironically, what makes Brenden sympathetic is her own drinking. Otherwise, neither she nor the plot is very credible, with much of the story line subordinated to the relentless, seemingly baseless antagonism between Brenden and her male superiors. Ultimately, readers may follow Brenden's alcoholic deterioration with more interest than her stalking of the killer, at least until they're faced with the question of how a murderer who staged eight unsolvable homicides could bungle so badly at the end. Shah has written paperback mysteries (The Mackin Cover, etc.) and is the coauthor of Darryl Gates's Chief: My Life in the LAPD. (Jan.)
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