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by Theresa Schwegel
St Martin's Minotaur, September 2005
288 pages
ISBN: 0312343140

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

One night when Chicago police officer Samantha (Smack) Mack is waiting for her married boyfriend to arrive at her apartment she is called back to work to cover for another cop who called in sick. She learns that for this one night she will be paired with her old partner, Fred.

Fred and Sam used to be partners and then Sam fell in love with him. When Fred married another woman the two decided that it would be best if they no longer worked together.

The police have been looking for a child molester and that night one of Fred's informants tells him where the wanted criminal can be found. It turns out to be in a dark, deserted house. Even though Sam wants to wait for backup, Fred insists that they enter the house right away.

As they're searching shots are suddenly fired and someone sneaks up behind Sam and hits her on the head. When she comes to she's surrounded by police officers and informed that Fred was killed with her gun and she is now suspected of doing the shooting. So begins Sam's search for Fred's murderer so she can clear her name while still trying to keep her job and boyfriend.

OFFICER DOWN by first time author Theresa Schwegel is by far one of the best books I've read in this genre in some time. The author creates some intelligent, likeable characters and weaves them into an extraordinarily good storyline. The main character, Sam, is written with true to life characteristics. She's highly likeable and she speaks her mind as she tries to stay true to her job, but she's also far from perfect. She's a real woman with realistic flaws to her character and the readers can easily relate to her.

Sam is in love with a married man who is also a member of the police department. This romance is not a tacked-on love story written to titillate potential readers. It's integral to the plot.

You'll be missing a terrific book if you don't read OFFICER DOWN. It's filled with humor and suspense and you will definitely enjoy it. I personally hope that this is the first in a Samantha Mack series and am eagerly anticipating Schwegel's next book.

Reviewed by Sharon Katz, December 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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