cover image Unsafe


John Connor, . . Orion, $14.95 (368pp) ISBN 978-0-7528-8523-0

The dysfunctional personal lives of the lead police characters overshadow Connor's fifth novel featuring West Yorkshire Det. Sgt. Karen Sharpe (after 2007's Falling ). Sharpe must contend with a trainee, Det. Constable Marcus Roth, who as a child prodigy was socially warped by being accelerated in school and thus placed with much older peers. An unrepentant ladies' man, the 28-year-old Roth, despite being attracted to Sharpe, has few compunctions about getting involved with her teenage daughter. Sharpe, for her part, is sleeping with a Pakistani “Category-A” crook, whom the security services wanted her to get close to as a means of learning about his brother. Sharpe soon crosses the line between playing a part and getting emotionally involved. The soap-operaish background tends to obscure the main plot line, the investigation of a young woman's brutal murder. (Dec.)