Monday, November 26, 2007

Record of Wrongs-Andy Straka

Record of Wrongs
Andy Straka
Five Star, Feb 2008, $25.95
ISBN: 9781594146527

Former SUNY-Binghamton campus security guard Quentin Price spent almost a decade in a maximum security prison in Upstate New York for the rape and murder of student Gwen Crawford; their link being the library where she worked nights and he locked it up. Finally thanks to his persistent lawyer Christine Shackleford, DNA testing proved he did not commit the crime he was convicted of. The State of New York gives him forty dollars gate money and a bus ticket back to the county he was convicted in, Broome. While he was behind bars his mom died leaving him her bible that the Warden finally gives him as his mother’s stipulation was upon his release; she always believed in her son.

Waiting outside to give him a lift is a face he will never forget; Christine’s mother haunted his trial insuring his conviction. Apparently the incestuous Upstate New York prison system works as Ruth Crawford knows the head correctional officer who arranged their meeting. Ruth wants Quentin to find the real killer of her daughter, who brought sorrow and grief to both their families and so far got away with it. At the same time, New York State Deputy Attorney General Bollinger assigns NYPD homicide detective Garnell Harris to investigate the Crawford murder and some recent homicides that look similar. Harris and Quentin will meet on their respective inquiries.

Leaving Frank Pavlicek (see A WITNESS ABOVE) in Charlottesville, Virginia, Andy Straka provides a fast-paced stand alone crime thriller. The story line is fast-paced working along two COLD QUARRY investigations led by Price and Harris respectively ultimately converging. Although the ending seems too miraculous especially the salvation of an odious dark avenging angel, fans will enjoy this interesting whodunit although the sum of Price and Harris fails to equal the whole Pavlicek sleuthing.

Harriet Klausner