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Open Season by Maryann Miller
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781594149153
Date: 15 December 2010 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website /

For those who like gritty police procedurals that deal with real life issues, Maryann Miller's new series Seasons should fill the bill. In Open Season, Dallas Detective Sarah Kingsly faces a Review Board hearing over the death of a black teen-ager during a drug bust in which her partner John is also killed. Nightmares haunt Sarah and keep her on edge. Black politicians and ministers thirst for blood, her blood, and demand the Commissioner fire her.

Supported by her boss, Lieutenant McGregor, she wants only to get back to work. When she is assigned a black woman just appointed detective, she suspects the public relations team had insisted on it. The woman, Angel, resents Sarah and shares the black community's view about the use of deadly force against blacks, especially young blacks.

The two are assigned to the murder of a mall maintenance worker. The killer left a note on the body hinting at revenge as a motive, but nothing about the man except for occasional drug use provides any leads. A second murder of a security guard in another mall ups the stakes.

Meanwhile, the killer contacts a television news station and complains about the police not releasing his notes. Pressure to solve the case escalates. So do tensions between Sarah and Angel.

Possible romances surface for both women. Paul, an accountant who looks like a rodeo cowboy, tries to pick Sarah up in a bar. Intrigued by him, they get together a few times. Chad, a black detective in the narcotics squad, joins the investigation and finds Angel attractive, but she wants no entanglements. When the novel ends, both issues are left unresolved.

Some readers may object to the language, but it fits the environment. A few may work out the murderer, but the pleasure comes from the interaction among the characters. The clues are there in subtle ways. Miller plays fair until almost the end when she withholds a bit of Angel's thoughts. The novel provides an exciting climax to bring the action full circle.

Stalking Season, the working title of the next novel in the series will continue the stories of Sarah and Angel. Miller has left plenty of opportunities for the new book.

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