PLAYING GOD by Kate Flora

playing-godA police procedural of the first water!   [I don’t even know that that means:  first water. Gotta look it up.  Be right back.  OK, I’m back.  Here it is.  Of the finest qualityThis idiom refers to a grading system for diamonds for their color or luster (compared to the shininess of water). The system is no longer used but the term, used figuratively since the early 1800s, has survived it.  OK, I knew it meant of the best, but didn’t know where it originated.]

A very unloved radiologist is found dead in his vehicle one bitterly cold night, with his pants down, he ahem cough cough up, and , gee golly, a rod jammed down his throat. Perhaps he complained about the service?  Turns out the dear boy, with a lovely young wife and new baby,  is a sexual addict, and solicits prostitutes several times a week.  Every one knows this, even the wife, his partners in his practice, the staff of the hospital, and well, what can I say?  Hard to keep that secret when you park in the same spot each night for your ‘activities’.

Joe Burgess is a homicide detective with the Portland, Maine, police.  He fits the modern homicide detective mold:  damaged, solitary, tough, rule breaker, but the department’s top crime solver, so he gets a pass on a lot of stuff.  There is also the requisite shootings, physical damage, for which he ends up in the hospital where he meets the requisite single nurse, tough, wise, and willing to take on a cop from the dent and scratch sale.

There is the sweet, young but tough prostitute that Joe saved when she was 17 from something terrible, I forget what, (all these plots begin to merge one with another after a while),  but she is a chronic and consummate liar, and what she knows about this particular crime she ain’t telling,  only releasing bits and pieces here and there.

Good mystery, which I did not solve because CHEATING on the part of the author who did not give us everything up front.  Nasty woman.  My solve record stinks.

Really good book, great writing, somewhat formulaic characters, but I didn’t care.  I kept reading like a maniac anyway.

Somewhat off the topic,  Joe has a sister, and since both of them are on the problematic side of 40, philosophical thoughts come to Joe.  One evening, when he goes to his sister’s house,

When Sandy answered the door, puffy and rumpled from sleep, the hall dim behind her, he was rocked by sense that he was seeing his mother.  He’d never noticed the strong resemblance before.   Walking to his car, a thought hit him like a sudden sharp pain.  If Sandy was becoming their mother, was he becoming their father?  A blunt, selfish man who rode roughshod over everyone in his life?

So I got thinking.  Do we all eventually become like one parent or the other?  Is that a good thing or bad thing?


2 comments on “PLAYING GOD by Kate Flora

  1. Mary Smith says:

    I have so enjoyed your reviews since I first started following your blog – bought quite a few of your recommendations. Hope you have a happy holiday!


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