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Crescent Blues Book ViewsAvon Books (Paperback), ISBN 0-06-105787-8

San Francisco Police Department Homicide Inspector Kate Gillespie and her partner, Rocky Markowski, respond to a late night call. At the scene, they discover an apparent murder-suicide. To Gillespie's horror, she recognizes one of the victims as a once upon a time best friend. Seeking to notify the next of kin, Gillespie discovers evidence of a shocking secret in her friend's past, and in a moment of weakness removes evidence from the crime scene. As the inquiry into what are now considered two murders gets underway, Gillespie's conscience forces her to confess her actions, and she finds herself removed from the case.

Book: robin burcell, deadly legacy
Her removal prompts an unwanted reunion with Internal Affairs Investigator Mike Torrance with whom she shares a strong but unfulfilled attraction. Under the watchful eye of Torrance and with direct orders from her superiors, Gillespie attempts to disassociate herself from the case. However circumstances partially beyond her control continuously draw her into the heat of the investigation, and she finds herself entangled in a web of political intrigue, perplexing identities, prostitution and kinky S&M.

When Markowski suffers severe injuries from an ingenious booby-trap, the intensity of the investigation escalates. Gillespie realizes that the perpetrators won't flinch at the prospect of murdering police officers, and the department needs to proceed as quickly as possible to unravel the ever growing puzzle. Gillespie turns to her old partner Sam Scolari for assistance.

Tracking the ownership of a vehicle used in a related incident to mob boss Nick Paolini, they arrange a meeting. Paolini denies involvement, but provides a puzzling clue. "Put it this way, Inspector -- in the world of friends and enemies, I am but a small fish in a big ocean. And those you know who seem the friendliest might not be." Gillespie will learn the meaning of the cryptic message at a later time and at her own peril.

Robin Burcell once again proves herself the master of the police procedural genre. This time, however, the actual nuts and bolts of the investigation take a back seat to a compelling and complicated plot line. The large cast of characters and the bewildering interweaving of false identities may cause some readers to flip back to previously read pages from time to time to sort out just how everything fits together. Burcell does provide some relief to the possible confusion with a nicely timed dialogue about three quarters of the way through the novel which efficiently recaps the main points in a nutshell.

All in all, Deadly Legacy supplies an intriguing reading experience, and Burcell provides convincing evidence that the bubbling undercurrent of San Francisco's mean streets bears no relationship to the biblical Garden of Eden.

Clint Hunter

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