Bold Strokes Books, 2008. ISBN 978-1-60282-007-4.
Reviewed by Cheri Rosenberg
Posted on 04/18/2008
When a councilman's daughter ends up dead from an apparent overdose, Alex Troy, an astute lieutenant in Vice/Narcotics, is called upon to head the investigation. Alex plans to outsmart the ruthless drug lord, Sonny Davis, using whatever it takes to bring him to justice. But there is more at stake than a high profile case with a plum chance of promotion. Alex previously had mentored, befriended, and admired the once vibrant victim. She vows to punish whoever did this to Stacey and all the other young victims.
Alex struggles to maintain her impenetrable persona as she faces personal and professional challenges. More intriguing is Alex's growing attraction to a gorgeous, gutsy subordinate, Keri Morgan, who becomes the primary team officer under her command. Keri is driven by her obsession to nail Sonny Davis and is fantasizing about Alex. Between Alex's past demons and this 'make or break' case, she doesn't need any distractions.
Drama and attractive women is what VK Powell shows in To Protect and Serve. The play between the main characters is enough to make this a fine read, but going undercover, chasing hardened criminals and bringing them to justice adds just the right amount of action to make this a well-plotted page turner. The book drew me in from the beginning with characters that captivate in their complexity. Powell writes with authority, using the lingo and capturing the thoughts of the law enforcers. The images are vivid, the action is believable, and the police procedurals are authentic. After Keri makes a dangerous bust, Alex wants to know if Keri always gets into this much trouble. When Keri asks Alex if she did something wrong, Alex replies, "You saved the victim from further injury, got the bad guy, and no cops got hurt. I'd say that's a pretty good day. We can talk about the rest another time."
Powell had me invested in the story of these admirable women, who put their heart, mind, body, and soul into their chosen profession. The riveting scenes between Alex and Keri had me rooting for Keri to overcome Alex's barriers and for Keri to stay safe for Alex's sake. A satisfying conclusion with ample room for a sequel, To Protect and Serve will hit the spot.
A thirty-year veteran of a midsized police department, VK Powell was a police officer by necessity and a writer by desire. Her career spanned numerous positions, including beat officer, homicide detective, vice/narcotics lieutenant, and assistant chief of police. Now retired, she devotes her time to writing, rewriting, traveling, and volunteer work. Her first novel, To Protect and Serve, was released in March 2008. Her second, Suspect Passions, is scheduled for release in 2009.
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