The Innocents

David Putnam. Oceanview, $26.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-60809-257-4
Set in Los Angeles in 1988, Putnam’s uneven fifth Bruno Johnson novel (after 2017’s The Vanquished) opens dramatically. Deputy Bruno’s morning tryst with the captain’s secretary at his East Compton apartment is interrupted by a visit from his former lover, Sonja Kowalski. Sonja thrusts an infant into Bruno’s arms, saying the baby is his and she can’t take care of their daughter. It’s an inauspicious way to start his first day as the least experienced member of the new four-person L.A. County Sheriff Violent Crimes unit. After dropping off the baby with his understanding father, Bruno joins his team and its leader, Lt. Robby Wicks, whom he’s not sure he can trust. Bruno is soon given an undercover assignment—to infiltrate a sheriff’s narcotics unit that may be operating a murder-for-hire scheme. Putnam, a law enforcement veteran, realistically explores a corrupt police unit, but too much violence and clichéd dialogue overwhelm the story. Bruno comes across as too naïve to be a cop, even a new one, and the other characters are merely caricatures. Agents: Mike and Susan Farris, Farris Literary Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/20/2017
Release date: 02/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-60809-294-9
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