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by Lynn Abercrombie
Pinnacle, December 2005
384 pages
ISBN: 0786017279

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

As the novel begins Atlanta Police Department Detective Mechelle Deakes confesses that she has made a lot of mistakes in her life and she wants to make a fresh start for herself. However, she is aware that she needs to make restitution to everyone she has ever hurt and that it is not going to be an easy journey.

Mechelle has lost a lot and she wants to make things right. She knows that she is lucky to be confined to a desk job after being caught buying crack cocaine during a sting operation. She knows that she should be fired and in prison and will do whatever it legally takes to avoid going there. She is doing her best in trying to keep her nose clean and staying out of trouble. All of that is going to change for her by the end of chapter one.

For the last few weeks, the Atlanta PD has been under fire for failing to solve a missing girl case involving the disappearance of six-year-old Jenny Dial. The chief of police, in order to divert attention from himself, organizes a series of simultaneous raids amongst suspected pedophiles in the hopes that he might find Jenny.

He takes every available personnel with him, including Mechelle, to these raids having absolutely no luck. However, during one of those raids, Mechelle manages to stand out in the media by apprehending a fleeing suspect, earning her a promotion to the newly formed Cold Case Unit. It will be here where her road to recovery begins.

THE BODY BOX is the first book in a possible series featuring Detective Mechelle Deakes and her boss, Lieutenant Hank Gooch, an enigmatic man who makes Joe Friday look like a party animal. Together they start working a series of what, at first, seemed unsolved kidnapping murders where the children died in a rather peculiar manner. Throughout their investigation they realize that Jenny might be the next victim so they have to race around the clock in order to save her life. Unfortunately, someone is trying to hinder their investigation forcing them to consider the unthinkable. Could a police officer be involved in Jenny Dial's disappearance?

The novel gets credibility by having Deakes tell the story her own way. She is recovering from her addictions and paying for her past (and present transgressions). She doesn't claim to have all of the answers and she wants people to know that she will mess up. If this difficult task is what it takes to get some self-respect, she will do it. Just don't expect it to happen by the end of this book.

Overall, I like the direction this book is going. I just wished the author had spent some more time fleshing out some of the other characters. They are caricatures compared to the three-dimensional Mechelle. We'll just have to wait and see if this character has a future in another novel. I'm willing to wait for it.

Reviewed by Angel L. Soto, January 2006

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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