Even the suspect is not sure if he’s guilty

PJ Tracy was originally a pseudonym for a mother and daughter writing duo. They produced a number of crime novels in the Monkeewrench series which I enjoyed and have reviewed here. With one of the pair now dead the other has continued writing using the existing pen name but has started a new series featuring a Los Angeles police detective, Margaret Nolan. Deep into the Dark is the first in this series.

The story actually spends most of its time concentrating on Sam, an ex-military man with a bad case of PTSD. He works in a bar and one night he gives refuge to his colleague Melody who is fleeing an abusive boyfriend. When the boyfriend is murdered the following day Sam is the prime suspect but Nolan doesn’t think that he is guilty and feels that she understands him better than the others because she has a brother who has also served in the armed forces.

Sam and Melody end up having to avoid the police and whoever committed the murder. Neither of them has very much money and their only asset is Sam’s classic car which also attracts too much attention.

The story moves between Sam and Melody and the police officers headed up by Margaret Nolan. Each of them uncovers aspects of the story and what has happened and it begins to look to the police like Sam is responsible for a series of deaths and to Sam like someone is targeting the people he knows.

This story is exciting and fast paced. You feel for Sam as he is not sure what is going on and as the evidence mounts against him and you feel that sooner or later Nolan will be forced to arrest and charge him even though she is sure that he is not guilty. By the end of the book the plot has become a bit far-fetched and there is a twist which I found unlikely. This is not the most realistic police procedural I have ever read but the characters are engaging and the story is enjoyable enough. It is the start of a new series and I shall read more of the books.

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