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Shadows of Sin: A Jessie Drake Mystery    by Rochelle Krich order for
Shadows of Sin
by Rochelle Krich
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2001 (2001)

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* *   Reviewed by G. Hall

A new book by Rochelle Krich is always a treat, especially one in her series featuring Los Angeles police officer Jessie Drake. Nowadays there are many (probably too many) mysteries featuring female sleuths, and the Jessie Drake books are definitely among the better ones. Shadows of Sin, the fifth entry in the series, was nominated for an Agatha 'Best Mystery' award at the Malice Domestic mystery conference.

As is the case with many of the best mystery writers, Krich's focus on Jessie's personal life as well as on the specific mystery, adds an extra dimension to the novel. The divorced Jessie has a sometimes difficult relationship with her family, especially with her abusive mother. She has a growing interest in her (only recently discovered) Jewish background and an increasing attraction to her Jewish studies teacher Ezra. Krich is an Orthodox Jew and interesting sub-themes related to Judaism are always present in her books.

Jessie is a homicide detective, who in this book investigates the murders of prominent plastic surgeon Ronald Bushnell and his office staff. As the investigation continues, it unearths more and more secrets from the lives of Bushnell and his family, including his adopted son Ethan.

Although this book was well-worth reading, I found the plot a bit pedestrian and guessed a key plot element before Jessie did. It is not the best of the Jessie Drake books. Readers not yet familiar with this series should look first for Fair Game which features a very clever serial killer and Blood Money which revolves around stolen Holocaust art.

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