Friday, October 14, 2011

Promissory Payback and Unrevealed

Promissory Payback by Laurel Dewey is a novella featuring Denver Homicide Detective Jane Perry. Dewey has three Perry novels out. I'm not really sure where this novella sits in the timeline. This story can be enjoyed without having read the previous ones.

Jane Perry is a deeply flawed character. Foremost is the fact that she is a recovering alcoholic. She's a lone wolf who isn't always comfortable dealing with the "people" part of her job. She reminds me of Carol O'Connell's Katherine Mallory and J.D. Robb's Eve Dallas. Perry is prickly and quirky and completely interesting to follow.

Perry is called to the home of Carolyn Handel. The elderly woman is found tied up on her bed with tape covering her mouth and nose. It's soon obvious that the killer sat and watched her as she suffocated. It turns out that Carolyn was a bitch and thought nothing of cheating people out of their money to finance her lavish lifestyle. There's no shortage of people who wanted to hurt her.

My one warning is that if you read Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express and hated the ending you might be unsatisfied with the ending of this novella.

Unrevealed contains four Jane Perry short stories. My favorite is entitled Things Aren't Always What They Seem. Perry walks into a bar just after leaving a horrendous crime scene and runs into a woman from her AA group. The ending was a surprise. I don't think I was expecting something so dark.

You're Only As Sick As Your Secrets had me expecting something really out there but the secrets are rather tame. Nothing that hasn't been covered on CSI. Still, I liked the way Perry handled the "suspect". It shows that she has a softer side that understands people wanting to start over.

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover has Perry doing a presentation at a local high school. She meets a "problem" student who seems to be able to read her mind. Something about the boy's random outbursts clicks for Perry and she become suspicious that something awful has happened at the boy's foster home.

Anonymous takes place during Perry's brief stint as a private investigator. A woman from her AA group asks her to find her sister who died on 9/11. If you think that sounds weird, it gets much weirder and more complicated.

Both of these publications provide a quick introduction to Jane Perry. I'm looking forward to reading the novels Dewey has written. Perry is a character I want to see more of.