Death, Deceit, & Some Smooth Jazz
Claudia Mair Burney
Howard (Simon & Schuster), Apr 2008, $12.99
Police Lieutenant Jazz Brown decides, in spite of a traumatic marriage and divorce, to try a relationship with forensic psychologist Dr. Amanda bell Brown. One night without warning, he knocks on her door to confess he did something terribly wrong by being with his ex-wife Kate who left him for another woman. Before he can finish his explanation, Bell’s sister Carly calls to tell her to vacate the house immediately.
Carly says that she is at Jazz’s loft with a dead Kate. When Bell gets to the crime scene, her first reaction is things are too perfect as if someone arranged everything to implicate Jazz. When she returns to her home, Jazz is there to finish explaining what he knows. The police look at him as the only suspect and DNA tests affirm their belief; he is arrested, but let out on bond. Bell is determined to clear his name, but someone watches her every step to insure she fails.
An Amanda Bell mystery (see MURDER, MAYHEM, AND A FINE MAN) is a treat to read because the heroine seems so human with her many foibles and insecurities starting with her disbelief that a hunk like Jazz loves her. Jazz has made many enemies even inside his precinct as he feels enforcement of the law is a responsibility that a cop must not abuse and from the criminals he has sent to prison. Thus Bell’s quest seems Herculean. Claudia Mair Burney provides a compelling whodunit.