Review: Should Grace Fail – A Twin Cities Novel (Priscilla Paton)

Quick note: I know this was an uncorrected ebook, but the formatting of it was DREADFUL. Hopefully, they get it under control for the release.

Detective Deb Metzger, who was to speak briefly at an event hosted by Nancy Leclerc, scion of a hotel chain, is asked to take over the keynote speech, which was supposed to be given by Dan Routh, a former policeman, when Routh doesn’t show. She hesitantly agrees.

Routh, it turns out, has been murdered, his body found in a Dumpster. Detective Erik Janssen, Deb’s partner, is on the scene where the former policeman and now quasi-social worker has been found.

The duo are assigned to investigate, and the first person they wind up speaking to is Gordy, Routh’s sponsor in AA. Gordy’s one of the most delightful and funny characters in this book – clearly wanting to o good, and right by Routh, but he also clearly has a case of scattershot thinking. After collecting the information he has, they continue on, following Routh’s footsteps.

They find that Routh was lately working primarily with a girl named Luna – a fetal alcohol syndrome baby who grew up to be a talented musician. But she is in the wind, leaving Erik and Deb to start digging around in her life as well, trying to find her.

There’s a secondary plot involving Jaelyn, an accomplished pianist, who may or may not know Luna, but who is definitely seeing Ray, a drug dealer – and carrying cash and/or product around for him.

By this point, we have a good reading of the two detectives’ personalities: divorced Erik, quiet, and prone to going off to do something without telling Deb. Deb, single after breaking up with her last girlfriend, but seeing a possible new love interest in Jude, right hand to the imperious Nancy Leclerc.

As the story progresses, the overall investigation gets both broader but also more intently smaller, focused on Jaelyn’s drug dealing boyfriend, another young man who seems to be ready to spill his guts, and someone within Nancy’s inner circle.

Erik and Deb doggedly follow the clues, resulting in the arrest of the killer and a rather satisfying ending.

While there were a couple of draggy spots – the neighbors and voles/gophers, for instance – overall the book is quite readable and there weren’t any gigantic plot holes to run trucks though en route to all the pieces of the investigation dovetailing quite nicely at the end.

A solid four out of five stars.

Thanks to Coffeetown Press and NetGalley for the review copy.

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