Every time I read one of Kate Flora's Joe Burgess mysteries, I'm reminded why I love police procedurals. Her latest one, And Grant You Peace, is topical, but it could be any time period, when the police are doing everything they can to find criminals, and keep the peace in their communities. And, Flora reminds us that the police are human, trying to deal with long hours and brutal crimes, while also trying to keep their own families intact.
Joe Burgess is known as the "meanest cop in Portland", Maine, but anyone who ever saw him deal with children would know he's a softy. And, his boss had promised he wouldn't have to handle a case with a baby again. It was just his luck to be hailed by a boy to help at a fire at a mosque. When he and a stranger went in, they found a young teen and a baby, locked in a closet. No one could save the baby. And, as the first officer at the scene, Sergeant Joe Burgess was determined to get answers. Who would lock two children in a closet? And, why had no one from the mosque shown up when it went up in flames?
What Burgess and his team uncover is a mess, and it all seems to be connected to the Iman and his Somali family, a family who won't answer any questions. Instead, problems grow as if they were fires sprouting up all over the city. "A fire that resulted in a death, a barrage of gunfire in a quiet city neighborhood, and a bad guy mistakenly released from jail? All in a day's work for Portland's finest." Before the Portland police can tie all the loose ends together, they'll face threats to their family, and threats to their own lives. And, it all comes back to that first crime. Who would lock two children in a closet?
Flora does allow the team to bring those loose ends together. But, she reminds us that police are often working short-handed, on multiple cases. She reminds us of the politics the police deal with daily. And, they're facing ugly crimes that tear them apart, knowing they have to go home to their own wives and families. Every day, those families wonder if their policeman husband or wife will walk through the door. Joe Burgess is only now realizing that. In his fifties, it's the first time he's had a family waiting for him, a family endangered because he's a police officer. He's only now seeing the reality that "families kept cops sane and balanced."
I love Kate Flora's police procedurals. And Grant You Peace shows those police working to keep streets and neighborhoods safe so citizens can sleep at night. Joe Burgess is just one of many, men and women with their own lives, who give up family time to solve crimes and work those streets.
Kate Flora's website is www.kateflora.com
And Grant You Peace by Kate Flora. Five Star. 2014. ISBN 9781432829391 (hardcover), 330p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.