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Sacrificial Offerings (Leal and Hart) by Michael A. Black
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432826185
Date: 19 September 2012 / Show Official Info /

Sacrificial Offerings is gritty police procedural with murder, violence, and corruption set near Chicago. Frank Leal and his partner Ollie (Olivia) Hart respond to a homicide at a seedy motel. Once the victim is identified as a former TV star, the pressure rises and other deaths ensue.

When Ollie is assigned to another unit and instructed to report on suspicious activities by the Swat team to which she is assigned, Leal is left without a partner. Eventually he ends up with Crazy Bob, a former patrolman and K-9 handler. He's also saddled with an texting intern and another experienced officer, Ryan, who has a lot of sickness.

A colored hit man, Taji, is desperate to retrieve a video recording associated with the homicide and taken by a prostitute. He shoots at the car in which she and another whore flee. If the police find the tape, he'll be charged with murder.

Meanwhile, Ollie is sent to SWAT training school and surprises her instructors and classmates with a stellar performance. Assigned to a team, she begins her covert surveillance. The raids are successful, but come up empty handed. They find no drugs or money yet the police chief and the internal affairs captain insist someone is on the take and Hart should do whatever it takes to find that person or persons.

Juggling Crazy Bob, the intern, and Ryan on top of a full case load pushes Leal to the limit. He misses Ollie and wants her back so he asks a friend who might have enough pull to get Ollie's orders chained.

When Leal meets Linda LeVeille of the Forest Preserve Police, he discovers they are working on related homicides. He asks her help in interviewing a rape suspect related to another of his cases and their relationship grows more personal.

Taji is Otha Spears enforcer and executioner. Spears heads the Soul Gangstas and gets another henchman to set a line tap to locate the woman Taji wants. When she contacts Taji's gym or her mother. In return, Taji offs an enemy for Otha. Most of the villains are people of color.

Coincidence plays a part in solving the various crimes. Some readers will be disappointed that Hart and others miss clues to what's sabotaging the SWAT team's efforts.

Definitely not a book for cozy readers, this police procedural features plenty of violence. Black was a police officer for more than thirty years. Despite the seriousness of the subject matter, he manages to inject humor into the story. This is the third of the Leal and Hart series.

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