Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Blood Red Indian Summer by David Handler

This newest mystery featuring Mitch Berger and Connecticut State Trooper Des Mitry presents Des with her first genuine racially charged case in the historic New England village of Dorset, the gem of Connecticut’s Gold Coast.
Tyrone “Da Beast” Grantham, the famously volatile NFL superstar linebacker, has just been suspended for “conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the league.” When Tyrone and his entourage decide to spend his season in exile in bucolic Dorset---much to the dismay of his early-to-bed, ultra-white neighbors---Des is put on the spot. And when Tyrone’s eighteen-year-old sister-in-law, Kinitra, washes up on Mitch’s beach one morning, bloodied and barely alive, Des is on the case. Especially when it turns out that Kinitra is eight weeks pregnant. Good thing there’s nothing else serious going on in our heroes’ lives right now.  Like, say, Mitch’s parents arriving from Florida at long last to meet the new woman of color in their nice Jewish boy’s life. (summary from B&

 St. Martin's Press , Hardcover , 256pp

I love this series. I enjoy that it takes place in Connecticut and I can visualize the places that are mentioned. I enjoy the little digs that the author makes about the power structure of the Connecticut State Police and about the moneyed life of the residents of the fictional town of Dorset. This book, which is the eighth in the series, continues the story of Mitch Berger and Des Mitry. The opening chapter starts the book off with an emotional situation and outcome that gets your attention immediately.
Des and Mitch are rebuilding their relationship after a rough patch and the ultimate test is coming. Des is going to meet Mitch’s parents. She is worried about the upcoming meeting and about her father, who is recuperating from surgery. Mitch has worries of his own as his parents have been behaving strangely and he is convinced there is something they aren’t telling him.
In the middle of all this, we have the family of Tyrone Grantham temporarily staying in Dorset. The description of how the prickly, native Nutmeggers react to a bad boy African American NFL star in their midst is very realistic. Des is in the middle of the residents and the “outsider” and she feels the pressure. When a Grantham family member washes up on the beach in a bad way, all kinds of possibilities are exposed. There is the angry neighbor, the nutty neighbor, the sleazy relatives, and a money grubbing, publicity seeking, gadfly all of whom make plausible suspects..
A long running theme in the books is how the female troopers are treated by the good old boy network and how that hampers their ability to do their job. Des has survived by being very good at her job and by keeping a few aces up her sleeve when needed. In this book she gets to work with 2 other female investigators and it adds interest to the story, especially as one is the sister of Des’s nemesis in the Department. Des also gets input from her father, the highest ranking African American officer in the CSP.
Mitch is his usual movie geek self, reframing life situations in terms of favorite movies. He helps his neighbors, enjoys his life in the neighborhood, and helps Des when he can. Their relationship is so enjoyable to read about. I love it when she calls him “doughboy”. In this book she picks up another interesting nickname much to Mitch’s chagrin. They balance each other in so many ways, which helps her get through some rough situations, including the conclusion of this investigation.
It has been a while since the previous book in the series. I hope the next one won’t be as long coming.
This book is available in the Adult New Fction section. Previous books in the series are in the Adult Mystery section.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review =D I'm adding this to my to read list. New follower: Trev @