The plot device of the good man wrongly accused of a crime is a popular one in our culture. I wonder what social scientists would say about that...are we so afraid of the authority of the police that we subconsciously write stories that show us triumphing over their perceived injustice? Well, I don't know what the prevalence of these stories says about us as a culture, but given my reading history I have come across a lot of these kinds of mysteries. Night Work, by Steve Hamilton, has the benefit of having an ending that I didn't really see coming-as out there as it was!
The main character, Joe Trumball, is a probation officer who specializes in working with youth, trying to keep them from entering the prison system. His work became his saving grace when his fiancee, Laurel, was murdered on the eve of their wedding. Two years later, he is finally getting his life back in order. He goes on a blind date...and that is when the real craziness starts. His date is murdered, as are two other women loosely associated with him, until finally he is accused of murdering not just the three recent women, but also his beloved Laurel.
This is a perfect popcorn novel. The action was predictable enough to be comforting, but the twist at the end was actually surprising, at least to me. It's not a terribly believable twist, but it doesn't really matter. This is not a novel that will inspire any great discussions of social issues or philosophical ideas. It is just plain fun.
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