Friday, November 14, 2008

Person of Interest, by Theresa Schwegel

More a story of a man and a woman than a mystery of deaths in Chinatown, this novel is in that select category of mysteries that go beyond the genre.

Craig, a police detective, is working undercover to capture the gangs in Chinatown responsible for a slew of deaths from illegal drugs. His obsession with the case takes him beyond the limits of the department and into his own savings. He spends nights and days gambling, trying to pick up the leads he needs, and often sleeps in a sleazy motel.

Meanwhile, his wife Leslie struggles with their teenage daughter Ivy, who is increasingly going out of control. She feels she has not been part of a real couple for a long time and feels the pull of attraction to, of all people, her daughter's boyfriend Niko.

Each of them observes and draws conclusions, usually wrong, about the other. Their destructive tendency to keep their observations to themselves threatens to destroy the family.

Craig's efforts undercover finally yield what appears to be the perfect lead. He pushes his superior to follow through, to be ready for a big bust. Craig's obsession with the case does appear to be as unhealthy as his superior officer says it is, even though we can sympathize with his desire to end the deaths.

Gradually, Leslie is drawn unknowingly into Craig's world and even her life is threatened.

The characters of Craig and Leslie are beautifully drawn, the emotions, the drives well explicated. I wanted desperately for the two to find each other again.

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