The Front is the second book in the Win Garano series, At Risk being the first, but nowhere on the front or back of the book does it say that. It is meant to be a stand-alone mystery, but the plot was so thin that I was left wondering if these books had to be read in order for them to make more sense.
Synopsis: State investigator Win Garano has been asked to investigate a 42-year-old case of a young blind woman who was murdered in her home. While the case was never closed, the murder was attributed to the Boston Strangler. Garano has to work with an association of local police departments called FRONT in Watertown. Stump, the chief there is uncooperative. The DA, power hungry Monique Lamont believes that this is a great opportunity for Scotland Yard to work with the US to solve this case. In other words: political mileage.
It’s a far-fetched story to start off with.
Review: This story line was rather incoherent and I lost the plot right in the beginning. The present tense narration does lend some urgency to the plot, but also turns out to be irritating after a while especially since the case itself was almost non-existent. Serendipitous discoveries lead to quick breaks in the case that has been cold for over four decades!
Garano’s spell-casting grandmother is too eccentric to be likable or believable. Win Garano as a character was okay, but the other characters are rather sketchy and their motives foggy.
The clash of personal and professional issues between Win, Lamont and Stump is forced and does nothing to advance the characters or the case.
The Scotland Yard connection was another puzzler and based on very feeble logic.
Verdict: Don’t bother reading this one. Flimsy plot and unbelievable characters, hardly any case as such. Thankfully, it was only 230 pages! I only hope the Kay Scarpetta novel I have planned for Mystery & Crime Fiction month is nothing like this.