Sunday, February 14, 2010

Six Mile Creek-Richard Helms

Six Mile Creek
Richard Helms
Five Star, Apr 7 2010, $25.95
ISBN: 9781594148545

Prosperity in Bliss County North Carolina was a rural small town of framers and their families until the developers in nearby urban Parker County saw money to be made. The town was turned into a bedroom community suburb.

After leaving the Atlanta Police Department, Judd Wheeler took the job of police chief in his hometown; his staff consists of two deputies. One of them Marbury calls to tell him Donnie Clift is dead; Judd proves it was a suicide. Not long afterward the body of Hispanic teen is found near Six Mile Creek. Morgan Sheriff’s Department Investigator Neerjah Patel declares a homicide occurred and the body had been moved. The parents of Gitana “Gypsy” Camarena arrive at Judd’s office to ask about the victim as their daughter went missing three days ago. Judd knows they are illegals so they failed to report her vanishing; he also knows the dead girl is Gitana. As he investigates her murder Judd finds many townsfolk want the illegals gone and this case dropped.

This is a taut regional police procedural with three groups distrusting one another and Wheeler caught in the middle trying to do the right thing. The homicide raises the anxiety amongst Hispanics especially illegals, the long time farm families who demand a return to the past, and the affluent suburbanites who prefer CSI on TV. With racism, discrimination, and loathing, Wheeler and other law enforcement officials have their work cut out to solve the case and keep everyone calm. Six Mile Creek is a superb whodunit due to the rising tension.

Harriet Klausner

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