cover image Close Case: A Samantha Kincaid Mystery

Close Case: A Samantha Kincaid Mystery

Alafair Burke, . . Holt, $22 (351pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-7784-1

In Burke's absorbing third Samantha Kincaid mystery (after 2004's Missing Justice ), the 32-year-old deputy DA and her just-moved-in lover, Det. Chuck Forbes, look into the murder of Percy Crenshaw, a popular investigative reporter and liaison to the Portland, Ore., minority community, who's found bludgeoned to death after a protest over a police shooting with racial overtones. Careful scrutiny of video footage unearths a couple of meth-headed hoodlums who were in the right place at the right time for the crime. Chuck's partner elicits a confession, and the case seems wrapped. When the ill-gotten confession is deemed inadmissable, the wavering line between loyalty to Chuck and Samantha's prosecutorial integrity becomes the catalyst for a breakup. Meanwhile, budding journalist Heidi Hatmaker, eager to break into the crime beat, studies Crenshaw's cryptic notes and surmises that the reporter's recent surveillance of questionable police activity may have led to his demise. A former deputy DA herself, Burke confidently lays out the procedural details, but she's less sure at rendering complex personal relationships. Agent, Philip Spitzer. (July 6)