The third Sheriff Hank Worth mystery has one of the most heartbreaking openings I've ever read. Once I read the first chapter of A Deadly Turn by Claire Booth, I was hooked. I love police procedurals. When the police are as invested in the case as Hank is in this one, it becomes a compelling page turner.
Once in a while, Sheriff Worth takes a night shift. On a Saturday night, he stops a speeding car going almost twenty miles over the speed limit. There are six teenagers in it. A couple in the back seat are not using seat belts. The driver's name isn't on the registration. Worth runs a couple of the licenses, makes a couple teens switch seats, watches them buckle up, and sends them on their way after threatening to tell their parents. Kids will be kids, and he assumes the warning will be enough. Twenty minutes later he receives the call, and arrives at the wreck to find all six teens dead.
Of course, Worth blames himself. He calls in Missouri's Major Crash investigators, and immediately butts heads with one of troopers. Hank wants in on the case, and, once Sergeant Jenkins finds out about his involvement, he doesn't want to include him. Worth's chief deputy, Sheila Turley, is a little more diplomatic than both bullheaded men, as is the other trooper. Hank insists on notifying the families, although it's a soul destroying job. But, when he finds a murder victim at the address of one of the teens, he knows he can work with Branson's police chief to push himself into the case.
There's layer upon layer in the investigation into the deaths of the teens and the unknown murder victim. How does a drug dealer, a theater and a country star play into the case? Worth's department works with the two other departments, state and city, to look for answers. Fans of police procedurals will appreciate the step-by-step unraveling of the story. Mystery fans, whether they've read other books in the series or not, should appreciate the personalities of Worth and his officers. In this third book, Deputy Turley must pull together the men in the department, Hank and another deputy, Sam, as they both allow their feelings to affect their job performance.
Read that opening chapter of A Deadly Turn. Once you witness Sheriff Hank Worth's reaction to the crash, it will be hard to turn away from the story.
Claire Booth's website is www.clairebooth.com
A Deadly Turn by Claire Booth. Severn House, 2019. ISBN 9780727888457 (hardcover), 276p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.