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Book Review: Close Case

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Close Case, by Alafair Burke, is the latest in a series starring Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid. This compelling novel takes readers inside the justice system of Portland, Oregon. Since Burke herself is a former deputy district attorney, there is a clear sense of how the law works.

From page one, readers are drawn into the storyline. Percy Crenshaw, a street reporter, is found deceased. Kincaid gets the call to come to the crime scene on the day before her thirty-second birthday. Because Crenshaw was known for writing stories about people disgruntled with customer service, Portland residents knew who he was.

Burke cleverly puts multiple plots in her book, drawing her readers in. There is an ongoing investigation into whether or not a police officer deliberately shot a woman when he pulled her over for a traffic stop. An extra layer of intrigue appears because the officer is white, and the woman is black. Without directly saying so, there is an issue of racial profiling.

As Samantha investigates Percy’s murder, she must deal with her responsibilities of being an attorney versus the prevailing attitude of the police, which is to back up the actions of their officers. Complicating matters is Samantha’s boyfriend, Detective Chuck Forbes.

Even though they live together, they are on opposite sides of the legal track. Forbes is the guy who tries to catch the bad guys who committed the crime. Kincaid is the woman who wants to make sure the bad guys pay for their crimes. One should be a continuation of the other. However, when Samantha feels that a confession was handled improperly by the police, Forbes decides that he has an obligation to defend one of his colleagues.

When the murderer is revealed, the results are startling.

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