Our carefree investigative reporter Carter Ross has become a little more responsible now that there's a baby on its way. That doesn't mean Carter doesn't get in trouble, as shown in the opening chapter of Brad Parks' The Fraud, when he says in forty-three hours he has to walk into a room with two dangerous people in it, hoping to save his unborn child.
When the mother of Carter's child, managing editor for local news for the Newark Eagle-Examiner, Tina Thompson, asks him to look into a story about a carjacking and murder, Ross objects. Why does the paper only care when a well-off white man is killed? So, he goes digging into recent carjackings and finds a fifty-four-year-old Nigerian immigrant who was killed two weeks earlier. Both men were driving expensive cars. And, the two men had played golf at an exclusive country club just a few weeks before the first carjacking. Carter starts digging around, in his inimitable way, stirring up trouble and calling on all his resources in the newsroom and around Newark. It's a story that will put his career, his life, and that of his unborn child at risk.
The suspense and anxiety intensifies in Brad Parks' latest story, as the story drives to an emotional conclusion. Once again Parks manages to present an intricately plotted crime novel while allowing Carter Ross, the likable reporter, to relate his story candidly, revealing his flaws and his wrong turns along the way.
There's a reason Parks has won Shamus, Lefty and Nero awards for the books in this series. These are thought-provoking books.They are stories about the gritty streets of Newark, the crimes and the criminals who see no way out. At the same time, the stories are narrated by a character who has matured over the course of the series while still managing to stay mischievous and witty. And, despite all the stories Carter Ross covers in the course of his career, he manages to remain a caring, optimistic character who wears his heart on his sleeve. He may be covering The Fraud, but Carter Ross is the real thing, a man with a conscience.
Brad Parks' website is www.bradparksbooks.com
The Fraud by Brad Parks. Minotaur Books. 2015. ISBN 9781250064400 (hardcover), 384p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.