Every promise that Linda Rodriguez' debut mystery, Every Last Secret, hinted at comes to fruition in the second book to feature Marquitta"Skeet" Bannion. Every Broken Trust is an outstanding mystery with wonderful characters, a complex plot, and a world thrown out of balance by murder. Readers of traditional mysteries should grab up these books. Skeet Bannion, Chief of Police at Chouteau University in Brewster, Missouri, deserves to be a star.
Skeet was a reluctant hostess at the party at her house, but she allowed her best friend, Karen Wise, to use it to stage a welcome party for the new dean of the Chouteau's law school, George "Mel" Melvin. Melivin brought his rich second wife, his troubled teenage daughter, a wealthy supporter, and the supporter's troubleshooter with him. In fact the whole town seemed to turn out for a party that found Skeet with a headache just wanting it to end. However, she didn't want it to end in murder, with Karen finding the body of a drunken guest in the Caves on the university campus. And, Karen herself was attacked.
After the attack, Skeet's friend seemed to be a changed woman, angry, and determined to find the killer of her husband. Karen and Skeet had never suspected that Jake Wise was murdered four years earlier, when the assistant U.S. attorney was found at the bottom of a flight of stairs at the federal courthouse. Now, with only the whispered secrets of a dead man, Karen demands that Skeet find her husband's killer.
With the help of her team, Skeet sorts through information about the people who might have wanted two men dead. Too many people in this case have guns, and the ability to use them. At the same time, she deals with troubles in her own life. After a stroke, her father is difficult to deal with, and she finds herself driving to Kansas City time after time to meet with her ex-husband and unsuitable home health aides. She had found the strength to leave both those controlling men behind and build a life for herself in Brewster. Now, as a foster mother of a fourteen-year-old boy, hoping to adopt him, she has another difficult male on her hands. She isn't at all happy with the friendship Brian is forging with Mel's troubled daughter, Angie.
Faced with murders, a friend gone rogue, angry teenagers, and the local police chief's romantic interest and suspicions, Skeet knows she's in trouble. When she was an angry teen herself, she turned to her Cherokee grandmother for advice. "I remembered Gran explaining the world depended on balance. Anything that threw off its balance must be put right, or there'd be frightening consequences....I knew she was right. Everything was getting more and more out of whack. I could feel the world around me spiraling into chaotic violence. It was my job to make it right again."
Skeet Bannion is not perfect. She's sometimes angry, confrontational, slow to forgive. But, she's the perfect police chief for the university. She's a strong, caring person, unafraid to confront evil, and determined to do her best to bring balance back to the world. She may not be a perfect person. Skeet Bannion is, however, the perfect police officer to lead a team and find answers for a community in a series of mysteries. With Skeet Bannion as the lead, Linda Rodriguez' Every Broken Trust is one of the best traditional mysteries I've read this year.
Linda Rodriguez' website is www.lindarodriguezwrites.blogspot.com
Every Broken Trust by Linda Rodriguez. Minotaur.2013. ISBN 9781250030351 (hardcover), 294p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.