My previous encounters with Spokane have been limited, as far as I can remember, to episodes of Frasier where it is used as the butt of many a joke.
This time, I arrived at a very different kind of place.
Charlie 316 opens with a car chase that escalates into an ambush and a shootout where the only casualty is created by the gun of SWAT officer Tyler Garrett. The outcome is complex and tricky for a number of reasons. The victim has been shot in the back and doesn't appear to have a weapon. The officer doing the shooting is black while the dead man is white. There have been recent cases of racial tension due to a similar incident in Chicago, so everyone's on tenterhooks and worse, Garrett is something of a poster boy for the department.
As the investigation and the public relations machine get into action, the whole of Garrett's life is put under the microscope and soon begins to unravel. Those in positions of power are mainly loyal only to their positions and genuine friendship and honest police work are not easy to find.
The news becomes a focus of the national press and Garrett's home address is leaked to the public via social media. Before long, everything is spiraling out of control and it looks as if an innocent man is likely to be thrown to the dogs.
There's a huge amount in this one. The knowledge of police work is, not surprisingly given the authors, brought to life in terms of its detail and authenticity. The politics of race is sliced up for examination in a number of ways. There are enough twists to take you where you weren't expecting and the action is fast and furious when required. Add to that really strong characters and a real desire to find some kind of justice and you have a substantial crime novel that will pass a good few days of your lockdown.
If you read it and want more, fear not: this is the opening novel in a series that you can track down via Down & Out Books here.