cover image Backlash: A Monica Paniatowski Mystery

Backlash: A Monica Paniatowski Mystery

Sally Spencer. Severn, $28.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8055-0

Det. Chief Insp. Monica Paniatowski is still fighting for respect in a man's world in Spencer's entertaining fourth police procedural set in 1970s Whitebridge (after March 2011's Echoes of the Dead). When Monika's former boss, Chief Supt. Tom Kershaw, is involved in an auto accident and informs the responding officers in a panic that his wife, Elaine, is missing, Monika is amazed at the overzealous police response. She and Kershaw have a rocky history that's evident from her initial handling of the case, which appears to be a kidnapping and could be a career maker or a career breaker. When prostitute Grace Meade also disappears, Monika finds enough similarities to widen the investigation, though she's warned to concentrate on finding Elaine. Solid ensemble police work narrows the search, including an unusual contribution with a kinky angle from Det. Sgt. Kate Meadows, while some subtle misdirection keeps the reader guessing. (Oct.)