During pride month, I was working on a list of mysteries and thrillers with LGBTQ+ protagonists for my library. I was pleased to find that more and more authors are choosing to tell stories with diverse characters but there is still a lack of mysteries with gay characters. While I meant to read this book in June, I’m glad I decided to give it a try as I ended up liking it and I am looking forward to reading the second in the series.
From Goodreads: Dallas, Texas is not for the faint of heart. Good thing for Betty Rhyzyk she’s from a family of take-no-prisoners Brooklyn police detectives. But her Big Apple wisdom will only get her so far when she relocates to The Big D, where Mexican drug cartels and cult leaders, deadbeat skells and society wives all battle for sunbaked turf. Betty is as tough as the best of them, but she’s deeply shaken when her first investigation goes sideways. Battling a group of unruly subordinates, a persistent stalker, a formidable criminal organization, and an unsupportive girlfriend, the unbreakable Detective Betty Rhyzyk may be reaching her limit.
While there is nothing new about a police procedural, Kent manages to put a unique spin on the genre by not only having her main character be a lesbian, but taking the time to fully develop that character so she’s not just a token gay character, there to make the book seem edgy. While Betty’s sexuality is not a main part of the book, Kent wants the reader to experience the kind of discrimination a lesbian cop in Texas would face and I applaud her for not sugarcoating Betty’s experiences. Betty is a bad ass and I really enjoyed her characterization. I think it would have been easy to make her so tough that she’s unbelievable but that’s not the case here. As for the other characters, they are fleshed out enough to make them interesting, but mostly fall into the basic police character tropes.
The mystery was okay, nothing too groundbreaking, but was well thought out enough to keep me intrigued. There were parts towards the end where I was on the edge of my seat so the thriller aspect of the book worked for me. There is a lot of death and violence in this book, including a gruesome description of torture towards the end so be warned.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I really liked Betty and thought Kent did a good job of pacing the action parts and mystery with Betty’s background. It felt like a good introduction to a series. I would recommend this book to fans of thrillers and police procedurals.
Author: Kathleen Kent
Published: February 14th, 2017
Rating: 3.5 Stars