cover image Crack Down: A Kate Brannigan Mystery

Crack Down: A Kate Brannigan Mystery

Val McDermid. Scribner Book Company, $20 (220pp) ISBN 978-0-684-19756-2

British PI Kate Brannigan persuades her lover, Richard, to help out in an investigation of auto-financing fraud. He agrees and ends up in jail, busted for possessing two kilos of crack he didn't know were stashed in the car he was driving. Kate wants to help him, but she can't risk blowing his cover or exposing him to danger from drug dealers who resent his interference. Richard's lawyer suggests that the PI find the real criminals and turn them over to the police, complete with incriminating evidence, please. So she does, bagging enough bad guys to make a video-game player proud. Along the way Kate depends on assorted useful friends, including a burglar, a member of the Manchester police force, a reporter, a physician, an employee at social services and an assistant to a financial broker. She also calls upon skills cultivated in her Thai boxing training. Someone is murdered, an act Kate may have contributed to, but it's all part of the nonstop action, through which McDermid's (Kick Back) heroine charges with remarkable aplomb. (Nov.)