cover image The Highly Effective Detective Crosses the Line

The Highly Effective Detective Crosses the Line

Richard Yancey, Minotaur, $24.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-312-38310-7

In Yancey's less than successful fourth comic crime novel featuring unlicensed Tennessee PI Teddy Ruzak (after 2010's The Highly Effective Detective Plays the Fool), Ruzak tries to protect 23-year-old Isabella Farrell from her psychotic ex-boyfriend, Quinton Stiles, who's just gotten out of prison. The bumbling detective winds up under arrest for breaking and entering after he bursts into Farrell's apartment under the mistaken belief that she's being threatened. Ruzak finds a link between Stiles and a neo-Nazi group, but when his efforts result in a shocking act of violence, the intrusion of real life jars. Ruzak's struggle with his unrequited feelings for his assistant, Felicia, who's already involved with a firefighter, doesn't lend itself as readily to the light treatment that was the first three books' hallmark. The ending makes it unclear what direction the next installment will take, but despite the dip in quality, fans will want to see more of Ruzak. (Feb.)