Investigating the brutal murder of a hotshot journalist, Samantha Kincaid finds herself caught in the middle of an increasingly personal — and potentially dangerous — struggle between Portland’s police and the DA’s office.
For Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid’s thirty-second birthday, she gets an unusual gift: a homicide call-out. The crime scene: the elite Hillside neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. The victim: star investigative reporter Percy Crenshaw, who has been bludgeoned to death in his carport.
Tensions in the city have been running high. The previous week, a police officer show and killed an unarmed mother of two in what he claims was self-defense: in the aftermath, protestors have waged increasingly agitated antipolice demonstrations. Crenshaw’s death, it seems, is not unrelated; within a matter of hours, police arrest two young men who appear to have embarked on a crime spree in the aftermath of the protests. The case looks straightforward, especially when one of the suspects confesses. But then the man recants, claiming coercive police tactics, and Samantha finds herself digging for more evidence. Following Crenshaw’s steps, her search leads her through an elaborate maze of connections between the city’s drug trade and police officers in the bureau’s Northeast Precinct.
Samantha’s pursuit of the truth puts her in the middle of city political battles and on the outs with the cops, including her new live-in boyfriend, Detective Chuck Forbes. Worse yet, the path left by Crenshaw could lead Samantha to the same fatal end.
With Close Case, Alafair Burke delivers her most suspenseful and powerful novel yet.
Critical Praise for Close Case
“Samantha Kincaid . . . battles the system to solve a puzzling homicide. Daughter of crime writer James Lee Burke and herself a former deputy D.A., the author keeps the plot hurtling along.”
-People Magazine (in a book Pick review)
“A crackling legal thriller . . . Burke is a former prosecutor, so she knows what she’s writing about, getting the details all in place. She’s also a gifted storyteller, which makes Close Case suspenseful, thought-provoking and a lot of fun.”
“Samantha Kincaid makes a welcome return in Close Case . . . As in Burke’s past books, seemingly simple legal cases become anything but cut-and-dried, and their consequences are always intriguing.”
-The Seattle Times
“This is clearly an insider’s view, authority riding on every sentence. The plot dazzles and tantalizes . . . Adultery, murder, community activists, and Sam’s dogged rock-the-boat tactics keep you glued to every line. Nothing is as it seems amid legal shenanigans and police camaraderie, and the shocks of the plot stun. The Burkes have become a dynasty.”
-The Providence Journal (Rhode Island)
“Alafair Burke upholds her family reputation for top-notch mystery writing . . . There is a lot more investigating and personal back story than courtroom drama in Close Case . . . Burke tells the story with great style.”
“She’s tough, clever and cantankerous as hell . . . In short, Samantha Kincaid is a pain in the butt . . . Burke has good storytelling in her genes . . . More please.”
-The Guardian (London)
“Close Case follows Missing Justice, a novel that Burke wrote last year — and it has the same power and suspense.”
-Desert Morning News (Salt Lake City)
“Burke delivers a fast-moving story of race and drugs and politics and prosecutors and cops and reporters — and how the volatile mix plays out on urban streets.”
-Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
“This novel brims with intelligence and suspense.”
“Close Case is the third in the Samantha Kincaid series by Burke, and in it she comes into her own as a writer. The first two books were good, with great characters and a nice sense of place . . . But Close Case is different. There’s an ease of writing, a smoothing of the hard edges, the touches that take a writer to the next stage in development, and Alafair Burke has reached it.”
-Toronto Globe and Mail
“Burke hits her stride . . . [A] big, bustling canvas with plausible moral dilemmas for Samantha and surprises that are still popping on the final pages.”
“Absorbing . . . Burke confidently lays out the procedural details.”
“Burke’s first person narration works beautifully . . . [a] superb legal thriller. Highly recommended.”
“An enjoyable read. The well limned characters, interesting plot, believability of the crime, and the way Burke brings readers right into the investigation add to the tension and suspense.”
“[Burke] is her own writer — she hasn’t tried to copy her father — and she creates strong characters and strong plots . . . This is a fast-moving, assured book with lots of surprises and action. Burke and Kincaid come into their own here.”
“For those fans of legal thrillers, Close Case by talented Alafair Burke will fill the bill.”
-New Mystery Reader
“In addition to the very empathetic Samantha, Burke has created a number of engrossing characters . . . Well written, with engaging chracters, this is a very good legal mystery. Rating: A.”
“With this effort, Burke has found a compelling voice for protagonist Samantha Kincaid, while offering a plot with the kind of headlong rush that’s the attraction of the genre . . . Kincaid possesses a winning combination of sweetness and vulnerability that’s rather refreshing — and almost unheard of in such mysteries.”
“[A] politically charged gritty thriller.”
“Hot, hardboiled . . . and highly recommended.”
“A terrific, multi-layered novel, one that constantly surprises and delights. Everything is just right — the quotidian details about prosecutors, cops and reporters, the richness of the Portland setting, the seamless plotting. Alafair Burke has outdone herself.”
-Laura Lippman, author of By a Spider’s Thread
“Close Case is a pageturner with humor, intelligence, and a kickass heroine. Alafair Burke just keeps getting better and better.”