Sunday, December 10, 2017

Review of “Sketch of a Murder.”

Aya Walksfar is a prolific writer of mysteries, police procedurals and other genres. Sketch of a Murder was the first of her works I had read; it won’t be the last.

The story is part mystery, part police procedural, and part serial-killer drama. The three are blended together expertly, each bringing out the best flavors of the others. A serial killer has left a trail of dead men behind in Seattle, and victimology is hard to pin down. The murders are followed by sexual mutilation, and Detective Sergeant Nita Slowater is unable to make sense of it.

The Special Crimes Team, SCaT, was assembled by the Governor to tackle the toughest crimes. It was also staffed by police officers with little respect for authority. The unit was expected to be a scapegoat, and a last stop for officers on their way out of a job. It just didn’t quite work that way. Slowater and the rest of the team get help from a mysterious reporter, a homeless street artist, and a cast of other characters so well-written we can hear their dialog.

The plot moves at a very readable pace, with a few artfully-placed twists and turns. The big reveal is less secret than a reader might want, but still satisfying. And, the transformation of the relationships is handled deftly. Aya Walksfar is an expert at her craft, and I’m looking forward to reading the remaining books of the Special Crimes Team series.