cover image Broken Lines

Broken Lines

Jo Bannister, Bannister. St. Martin's Press, $22.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-312-19842-8

The police of Castlemere, England, try desperately to identify the person behind a brutal beating in this brilliantly plotted addition to a reliable British procedural series (A Bleeding of Innocents, etc.). Though common purpose and mutual respect have always bound the disparate personalities of Superintendent Frank Shapiro, Inspector Liz Graham and Sergeant Cal Donovan, that trust and solidarity are severely tested when Donovan's hot pursuit of a petty thief, Mikey Dickens, results in a tragic accident. When evidence of the crime can't be recovered, it appears that Dickens, who is the favorite son of the paterfamilias of the largest criminal group in Castlemere, may skate. A missing gun, a vacillating eyewitness, a near-fatal attack and Donovan's fiery temper combine to shift suspicion from Dickens to Donovan. Is Donovan the subject of an elaborate frame? Or have temper and provocation driven him to betray his calling and administer ""justice"" on his own? Bannister's craft and subtlety (even the title has hidden depths) keeps the solution well hidden while she steadily ratchets up the tension in this gratifying drama. (Mar.)