Broken Down

Susan Koefod. North Star (www.northstarpress.com), $14.95 trade paper (232p) ISBN 978-0-87839-604-7
In Koefod's lackluster second mystery featuring Arvo Thorson (after her 2011's Washed Up), the Mendota County, Minn., police detective spends as much time trying to figure out the women in his life as he does investigating swing bridge operator Karl Lutz's death. Fifteen-year-old daredevil Nick McQuillen happens to be on Lutz's bridge when it suddenly rises into the air. After seeing a motorcyclist make a daring leap across the spans, he goes below to find the operator cut in two by the bridge cables. While Nick's presence on the bridge makes him a suspect, his age means Thorson must deal with prickly social worker Christine Ivory, with whom the investigator has a problematic relationship. Moreover, Thorson can't quite free himself from the clutches of his adulterous ex-wife, Helen. Questioning Nick, searching for the elusive motorcyclist, and investigating the gruesome crime scene leads Thorson into a quagmire almost as sticky as his personal entanglements, but neither problem excites much interest in a novel equally weak on romance and mystery. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
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