St. Martin's, Oct 2007, $24.95
Fifteen years old Lucia Moberg gets her dad to take her to the nearby mall. Once there Lucia steals a CD from a store for her friend, but almost was caught. In a bit of a panic, she convinces her dad that it is time to leave so they go to the car. However, a man with a gun demands her dad turn over his wallet and the car keys. As she horribly watches her dad refuse to cooperate, the man shoots her father in the head splattering his brains all over the windshield and elsewhere.
Rochester PD Detective Greta Hurd interrogates the teen and quickly rejects the carjacking scenario as a lie. Instead she widens the investigation to Lucia’s frightened mother, the neighbor, and the Skeleton Crew gang. As Lucia struggles with her guilt, Great keeps prodding at her to tell the truth as she assumes this was crime of passion caused by a dysfunctional family; sort of like her own.
This is a dark character study that grips the audience as the two lead protagonists, the cop and the teen, struggle with person demons that intrude on the case. Lucia is overloaded with guilt as she goes through one what if drill after another, but always comes back to same reality that she can depend on no one especially not her mom as she accepts culpability and tries to move on although the cop won’t let. Greta sees the case through the myopic lens of her own dysfunction family so assumes either the teen or the mom killed the dad. PYRES is a well written depressing atmospheric psychological crime thriller.