Summary and book reviews of Close Case by Alafair Burke

Close Case

By Alafair Burke

Close Case
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    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Jul 2005,
    351 pages.
    Paperback: May 2006,
    368 pages.

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Book Summary

Investigating the brutal murder of a hotshot journalist, Samantha Kincaid finds herself caught in the middle of an increasingly personal-and potentially dangerous-struggle between Portland's police and the DA's office

For Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid's thirty-second birthday, she gets an unusual gift: a homicide call out. The crime scene: the elite Hillside neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. The victim: hotshot investigative reporter Percy Crenshaw, who has been bludgeoned to death in his carport.

Tensions in the city have been running high. The previous week, a police officer shot and killed an unarmed mother of two in what he claims was self-defense; in the aftermath, protestors have waged increasingly agitated anti-police protests. Crenshaw's death, it seems, is not unrelated: within a matter of hours, police arrest two young men who appear to have embarked on a crime spree in the aftermath of the protests. The case looks straightforward, especially when one of the suspects confesses. But then the man recants, claiming coercive police tactics, and Samantha finds herself digging for more evidence. Following Crenshaw's steps, her search leads her through an elaborate maze of connections between the city's drug trade and officers in the bureau's north precinct.

Samantha's pursuit of the truth puts her in the middle of city political battles and on the outs with the cops, including her new live-in boyfriend, Detective Chuck Forbes. Worse yet, the path left by Crenshaw could lead Samantha to the same fatal end.

With Close Case, Alafair Burke delivers her most suspenseful and powerful novel yet.

Chapter 1

Hotshot reporter Percy Crenshaw died on the last day of my thirty-second year.

I'm crystal clear on the timing, because I remember precisely where I was when I got word the following morning. I was slogging away in the misdemeanor intake unit, issuing criminal trespass after criminal trespass case, thinking to myself, This is a shitty way to spend my thirty-second birthday.

The way I saw it, I had no business working at intake. I have been a prosecutor for seven years, three federally as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in New York City, and four in my current position as a Deputy District Attorney for Multnomah County. Only someone with a local connection would know where Multnomah County is, let alone how to pronounce it. It's the county whose seat is Portland, Oregon, the rainy city in the Pacific Northwest. Not the big one with the needle in the skyline, the smaller one south of there.

Before hearing the ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

If you're a police procedural/thriller fan and have not yet tried one of Alafair Burke's books, this would be a good time to start!   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (326 words).

Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

A former deputy DA herself, Burke confidently lays out the procedural details, but she's less sure at rendering complex personal relationships.

Library Journal - Stacy Alesi

Burke's first-person narration works beautifully, but alternating it with the occasional third-person narration for the Hatmaker story line feels awkward in this otherwise superb legal thriller. Highly recommended.

Kirkus Reviews

Burke hits her stride in this third outing for Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid....Now that she's mastered the high concept and the breadth, maybe next time Burke can deliver the pace and momentum that would raise her to the first rank.

Booklist - Mary Frances Wilkens

Burke, daughter of author James Lee Burke and once a Portland prosecutor herself, delivers a politically charged, gritty thriller in this third entry in the Samantha Kincaid series.

Author Blurb Harlan Coben
..a page-turner with humor, intelligence, and a kickass heroine. Alafair Burke just keeps getting better and better.

Author Blurb Laura Lippman
Close Case is a terrific, multilayered novel, one that constantly surprises and delights. Everything is just right - the quotidian details about prosecutors, cops, and reporters, the richness of the Portland setting, the seamless plotting. Alafair Burke has outdone herself.

Author Blurb Lee Child
Hot, hardboiled...and highly recommended.

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Beyond the Book

Close Case is the third in Alafair Burke's Samantha Kincaid series, preceded by Judgement Calls (2003) and Missing Justice (2004). She is a former deputy district attorney in Portland, Oregon who now teaches criminal law at Hofstra Law School and serves as a legal and trial commentator for radio and TV programs, including Court TV. She is also the daughter of crime writer, James Lee Burke. When asked whether she feels she's following in the footsteps of her father she says, "Actually, when it comes to mysteries, you could say my father followed in my footsteps. Many people don't know that he published several works before turning to crime fiction with The Neon Rain, so no one thought of my father...

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