Monday, July 17, 2017

Shallow Grave by Brian Thiem

Brian Thiem truly is one of those authors who writes what he knows. He spent twenty-five years with the Oakland Police Department, working homicide as a detective sergeant, and later as commander of the homicide section. He also served in the Army. Detective Matt Sinclair, now making his third appearance in Thiem's series, is a detective sergeant in homicide in Oakland, and an Army veteran. Hmmm. The latest book in the series is  Shallow Grave.

After a city-wide bust of the Savage Simbas Motorcycle Club, Sinclair is in the office, and catches a call to take a look at a shallow grave and body discovered at the Police Activities League camp. He's the one who recognizes the body, his former partner and training officer, Phil Roberts. Roberts was now the Intel unit sergeant, but everyone in homicide was eager to find the man's killer. Sinclair and his partner, Sergeant Cathy Braddock, are lead on the case. At least they're the leads until Sinclair pushes too much, asking questions of a city councilman's family and staff when the police chief had warned him to stay away. Now, Sinclair is suspended. As Roberts' designee, he can still clean out his friend's locker. But, the money he finds in the locker leads him to suspect Roberts might not have been as honest as he appeared.

Only a suspended cop who goes rogue could continue to investigate a murder that may have larger repercussions. Sinclair links names and connections to a previous case covered in Thrill Kill. The chase of a killer will lead him to unlikely allies, and a surprising conclusion. What was Phil Roberts doing that led to his murder?

Thiem's latest police procedural is complicated, involving many people. But, it was satisfying to see the cases overlapping as officers worked on multiple cases at a time. Only Sinclair was given the liberty to work on one investigation, because he was suspended. Shallow Grave is an enjoyable police procedural for those of us who appreciate the methodology and logical plotting of a story.

Brian Thiem's website is

Shallow Grave by Brian Thiem. Crooked Lane. 2017. ISBN 9781683311430 (hardcover), 336p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.

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