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Beat    by Stephen Jay Schwartz order for
by Stephen Jay Schwartz
Order:  USA  Can
Forge, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Stephen Jay Schwartz's second novel, Beat, is a gripping mystery that will hold you spellbound until the last page. His protagonist is Hayden Glass, LAPD Robbery-Homicide Detective ... and sex addict!

Glass is fighting his addiction not very well, it seems. He is trying hard, but not succeeding. During a long relapse, he is mesmerized by a girl he found on the Internet. When she needs help, he rides to the rescue. But he always seems to be just short of his goal.

He falls into the sex-slave trade of San Francisco and discovers crime and corruption on a grand scale. While trying to free the Internet girl, Glass is still fighting his addiction. Since he's working away from his own city of Los Angeles, he's not sure who to trust. He knows that police officers are involved but which ones?

This is a very clever plot, well thought out and executed. The climax will blow you away. Glass is a very likable character as the first book in this series (Boulevard) will attest. He is learning that before he can help anyone else, he must first help himself.

If you are the least bit squeamish about graphic sex, maybe this isn't for you - although Schwartz was able to make the sex scenes come alive without making this reader throw the book across the room. And, unlike many others, he doesn't have to use foul language to make his point. Beat is a thriller in the true sense of the word.

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