cover image Dying Bad: A Sarah Quinn Mystery

Dying Bad: A Sarah Quinn Mystery

Maureen Carter. Severn/Creme de la Crime, $28.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-78029-036-2

In Carter’s middling third procedural featuring Birmingham, England’s, Det. Insp. Sarah Quinn (after 2012’s Mother Love), Quinn, journalist Caroline King, and solicitor Ruby Wells engage, in various ways, with the ugly crime of “grooming”—turning vulnerable underage girls into abused sex objects. Quinn’s angered by the dismissal of the case against Jas Ram, one of the worst offenders. King desperately wants to interview Ram for the book she plans. Wells, who’s befriended some troubled young women, has a different agenda. Meanwhile, cantankerous Det. Chief Supt. Fred Baker is pushing hard to solve the brutal beatings, one fatal, of three men, only one of whom is identified. A tip points to two male teens as the culprits, but the police overlook other potential suspects. Quinn, King, and Wells all court danger as they interact with the despicable Ram. Brief, sordid stories of grooming victims alternate with the investigation into the beating victims. The clumsily contrived ending disappoints. (Mar.)