Written by Sean Lynch — Last year here on Crime Fiction Lover, we racked our brains to come up with the top TV crime shows of all time. So why mention it at the start of this review? Simples – it’s because Farrell and Kearns, the central characters in this series, would make a great telly double act.
As a rookie in the San Francisco Police Field Training Programme, Deputy Kevin Kearns is used to having to do as he’s told. So when his training officer makes an unexpected stop at a dingy tenement apartment block, he obeys orders and stays put in the marked police car. Until, that is, he hears the sound of gunshots and runs to the source of the racket. Within seconds, Kearns’ trainer, another Sheriff’s detective and two unidentified shooters lie dead. And as it is Kevin who put the latter pair down, he is pulled in for internal investigation.
Readers of previous Farrell and Kearns books will know that this young man is never far from trouble – which is why he has retired San Francisco Police Inspector Robert Farrell as his friend and wingman. And it doesn’t hurt to have former Judge Eugene Callen fighting your corner either, particularly when a simple ‘officer involved’ investigation begins to look like a witch hunt… with Kevin as the unfortunate target.
Officer Involved is the third in the Farrell and Kearns series (the previous two are Wounded Prey and The Fourth Motive) and served as my introduction to this author and his quirky cast of characters. Lynch drip-feeds back story in easily-digestible morsels and it really doesn’t take long to fall in love with these guys and find yourself rooting for them against the baddies – in this case, a bunch of Hispanic, drug dealing gang members who are out to wreak their revenge on Kevin and don’t care who gets in the way of their bullets.
After two attempts on Kevin’s life, it becomes clear that someone on the force is feeding information to the gang. But who? Farrell is determined to get to the bottom of it all but when the fight gets just a little too close for comfort, he throws caution to the wind and goes all out to get to the truth. Hell hath no fury like Bob Farrell scorned and with Kearns at his side there are sure to be fireworks.
This is a fast-paced, well-plotted novel which deftly mixes the ingredients of an all-action thriller with – dare I say it – a dash of romance. The dialogue is snappy and entertaining and the characters anything but run of the mill. Although the gritty storyline is filled with gun fights and blood, it is tempered by a lightness of touch that should keep you wanting more.
The author is a former San Francisco police officer, whose career started as a patrol officer and ended upon his retirement in 2012 when he had attained the rank of Lieutenant and was Commander of the Detective Division, so he certainly has the inside track on how the criminal justice system works. He weaves a neat thread of procedure through an entertaining and highly engaging caper which has an almost cinematic quality to it. TV producers, take note!
Officer Involved is released 16 June. We took a first look at the launch of the revamped Farrell and Kearns series here.
CFL Rating: 4 Stars