The Other Murder by Kevin G Chapman

2 Mins read
The Other Murder by Kevin G Chapman front cover

We’ve reviewed several of his New York-based police procedurals featuring NYPD Detective Mike Stoneman on this site, and Kevin G Chapman sticks with the Big Apple for his latest work, The Other Murder.

The action begins inside one of the city’s landmark green spaces, Washington Square Park, where talented young basketball player Javier Estrada is heading home after throwing a few hoops with friends. It’s when he hears the not-too-distant scream of a woman obviously in trouble that Javier’s world flips. Minutes later, two people are lying dead on the greensward.

One is the young woman in distress, quickly identified by police as Angelica Monroe, a white, sophomore student at the nearby university. She was blonde, attractive and from a respectable family – in other words, ticking all the boxes for a media frenzy. Meanwhile, Javier’s death is all but glossed over. At first the police believe he was involved in the killing, then dismiss his death as mere coincidence.

Luckily, Javier has someone to fight his corner, in the shape of reporter Paulo Richardson, who writes for the Lower East Side Tribune, a tiny neighbourhood newspaper. His local knowledge means he has heard of Javier, an up and coming basketball player whose talent had attracted scholarships from a number of schools. The teenager had fought back after a shaky start in life and had everything to look forward to. It’s a tragedy, and a story that Paulo is determined to share.

Meanwhile, in a very different world of news-gathering, Hannah Hawthorne is a producer with American Cable News and is first on the scene when the news of Angelica’s murder breaks. Hannah scoops everyone else by managing to get an interview with the dead girl’s former roommate, giving her much-needed brownie points with the bosses. She’s happy to be in the thick of things – until it becomes clear that Angelica was not the unblemished little angel that the media in general is portraying.

Time for Hannah and Paulo to collaborate, and piece together the real story of what happened that night. As the floral tributes pile up and candlelit vigils begin, is anyone prepared to listen to the truth? The answer to that question is at the very heart of this book, which is part police procedural, part social commentary – and it’s a balancing act that Chapman handles well.

There’s plenty of Yin and Yang at play: Paulo and Hannah; Javier and Angelica; NYPD detectives Andrew “Dru” Cook and Mariana Vega. Surprisingly enough for an author who has several cop-based novels under his belt, here Chapman gives the police investigation more of a supporting role. Instead it is the two journalists who take centre stage, and instead of the usual gung-ho, hold-the-front-page hacks so beloved by crime writers, they are a nuanced pair, both fighting against convention in their own different ways.

I enjoyed Paulo and Hannah immensely. They have conscience, guts and determination and Paulo in particular is a man on a mission, and someone you want desperately to come out on top. Cook and Vega are another mismatched but interesting pairing and I can see them making an appearance in a future Kevin G Chapman novel. I also appreciated the little hat tip to the aforementioned Mike Stoneman within the pages of The Other Murder!

There are times when the plot stretches credibility a tad too far, but I like this more considered approach from an author who can always be relied upon to come up with a snappy plot and a cast of believable characters. And the New York setting is the icing on the cake!

Another New York newsroom is at the centre of RG Belsky’s It’s News to Me.


CFL Rating: 3 Stars

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