Review of THE BIG GAMBLE by Michael McGarrity
Dutton, July 2002
A chance fire turns up not one but two bodies--one recent and the other a decade old. Both are murders, and Deputy Clayton Istee and Police Chief Kevin Kerney begin working the cases from the opposite ends. Gradually, each starts to see a pattern behind the deaths--and a pattern that connects them. Gambling, prostitution, drugs, and political intrigue seem evident--but can the cops get the goods on well connected politicians and businessmen?
Both half-Apache Istee, and Kerney are interesting characters. Although the two never met until recently, Kerney is Istee's father and Istee has rebelled against the anglo half of his ancestry. Kerney struggles with his responsibilities as a grandfather and the new responsibilities associated with his soon to be born second son--while dealing with an artificial knee that causes him perpetual pain. A number of interesting secondary characters within the police and sheriff's departments add to the charm.
Author Michael McGarrity is an ex-cop and the police procedural details have an authentic feel as a result. The suspects are identified fairly early, but detailed police work needs to be done before enough evidence for conviction can be found. His writing style also feels authentically cop-like. McGarrity reports 'the facts' and his dialogue is sometimes stilted. I would have enjoyed THE BIG GAMBLE more if it relied less on coincidence. Nevertheless, it is an enjoyable read.
Purchase THE BIG GAMBLE from Amazon.com (hardback).