Another review comes in for THE FRAILTY OF FLESH. This book seems to have some legs. I worried it would be overshadowed by the year-end busyness and releases from big names, but those things seem to only have delayed the discovery instead of preventing it.

Sandra Ruttan has a perfect recipe for this multilayer thriller. First layer:
This Canadian story begins with an old case. Ten years ago, Craig Nolan's dad, Steve Daley, was lead detective when Lisa Harrington's beautiful daughter Hope was brutally beaten to death. Donnie Lockridge was convicted and is now up for parole and Lisa wants Craig, also a Canadian Constable, to make sure Donnie does not get out ...or so she says. The story is complicated by the fact that Craig was illegitimate and his relationship with his dad is already strained.

Second layer:
Plenty of dysfunctional people: Temporary acting Sergeant Frank Zidani cannot get along with any of his staff. Constable Ashlyn and Craig, her lover, are quarreling. Craig and his dad are estranged. Craig and his new partner Luke don't trust each other -- and this is just a taste.

Third layer:
Constable Ashlyn Hart and her partner Tain are called to the park where a four-year-old boy has been beaten to death with a baseball bat. The victim's eleven-year-old brother is found hiding in the woods and claims to have seen it all. He says his older sister did it and she is missing.

This is topped with the parents promptly hiring a high-dollar attorney to isolate them from the detectives. Add a liberal sprinkling of child abuse and there you have it. Sandra Ruttan's story-telling style is unique with all the multiple plots blending to create tension on every level. The clues are subtle and the conclusion is quite satisfying. Try it. I think you will like it.

- Carolyn Lanier

I guess I should mention, for the sake of anyone attending Left Coast Crime in March, that both WHAT BURNS WITHIN and THE FRAILTY OF FLESH are eligible in the Hawaii 5-0 category as police procedurals. Of course, with such a lengthy list of releases from seasoned police procedural writers, I'm not expecting to make the cut. A long list of other police procedurals eligible has been posted on...

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