Monday, February 19, 2018

Book Review: An Ace and A Pair: A Dead Cold Mystery (Dead Cold Mysteries Book 1) by Blake Banner

An Enjoyable Police Procedural with a Few Convenient Discoveries

If you’re a fan of police procedurals, chances are you’ll enjoy An Ace and A Pair.  The story hits the ground running, with the ‘dinosaur’ of an NYPD detective, John Stone, partnered with attractive, but generally disliked Detective Carmen Dehan.  They’re relegated to cold cases, and after shuffling through boxes of them, Stone picks the ten-year old, Nelson Hernandez file with the well-reasoned justification of “This one always interested me.” 

Soon, the list of suspects from that gangland-style execution looks like a who’s who of the criminal world with the New Jersey Mob, a Chinese gang (the Triads), a Latino gang (the Angeles de Satanas), and one or more bent NYPD cops all making appearances.  As Stone and Dehan track down leads, it becomes apparent that someone believes the score still needs to be settled – their ‘persons of interest’ start to die.  It all ends with a finale that caught me by surprise…and I was sure I knew.

The downside to An Ace and A Pair is that Stone’s detective work involved some quite improbable deductive leaps.  For example, at one point the New York detective comes to the barren plains of Texas and finds an abandoned car that no one seems to have noticed in ten years.  Really?  A lot of his discoveries are passed off as old-fashioned detective work, but details aren’t given, making them seem much too convenient.  But I liked the concept of the old-school detective.  And as characters, Stone and Dehan worked, showing a mix of humor and begrudging admiration for each other.

Overall, you’ll need to accept some deductive leaps that might clear the Grand Canyon, but otherwise, it’s a fast and enjoyable read.

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