Growing up, Callahan Garrity was closer to her cousin Patty than she was to her own sister. Slightly older than Callahan, Patty was a free spirit in her younger years. If you googled hippie, Patty would have shown up in the image results. Over the years, Patty has given up her carefree ways and become much more serious. Motherhood and a cheating husband will do that to you.
Out and about on the wrong side of town, Patty is killed in what appears to be a robbery, but Callahan isn't so sure of that. Luckily, there was a witness. Unfortunately, that witness is Patty's son who suffers from a speech disorder that makes it difficult for all but a few to decipher what he's saying. It doesn't matter. Callahan is going to find out who killed her cousin no matter what.
This book is the first time that I've run into problems with how Andrews approaches race. I realize this series was written in the 90s, but that was just 20 years ago. At times, it reads like it was written in the 50s. There's an underlying message that criminals are black and that bad neighborhoods are black neighborhoods. In addition, there's the liberal use of the n-word. To be fair, there are "mainstream" African-American characters like the police captain and his detective girlfriend. There are also the women that work for Callahan. But you get the sense that Andrews sees them as the exception and not the rule.
It'll be interesting, as I work my way through the series, to see if Andrews evolves. I know that in her more recent works, she tends to create predominately white worlds. Perhaps that's her solution to dealing with her awkward views on race.
Listening time: 9 hours, 41 minutes
Re-published: March 2013
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