James Patrick Hunt, The Betrayers Reviews

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“The Betrayers ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 23/12/2006

The Betrayers
James Patrick Hunt
St. Martin's, March 2007, $23.95
ISBN: 0312362765

In St. Louis, two county deputies Chris Hummel and Wade Childers make what seems to be a routine traffic stop of Jimmy Rizza, only to be killed by Mike Dillon. St Louis Homicide Detective Lieutenant George Hastings leads the inquiries into the murders of the law enforcement officials that have all the cops outraged, and in turn concerns the criminal elements who fear mass intrusion in their business.

The first thing George realizes that makes the case seem less random than first thought, is the weapon of choice was a machine gun. George wonders if the homicides are drug related, with Hummel and Childers lured into a trap. As his superior Captain Karen Brady places increasingly unfair pressure on him to catch the culprits, George also feels unhappy with that young punk son of an affluent lawyer, Sergeant Bobby Cain, assigned to assist him. Ignoring his feelings of being sandwich meat, he considers who could have set up such an operation, including the hit order. Incarcerated drug lord Steve Treats, or vicious felon John Zanatelli come to mind, but what makes the investigation convoluted are the follow up executions that occur to eradicate the trail.

Though the murder victims are different, the fascinating use of a crime thriller to look at dysfunctional group dynamics will remind the audience of Fritz Lang's classic 1930's movie M (starring Peter Lorre). The investigation takes a back seat to the inter-activities and relationships within the two prime groups. For instance, George has no respect for, or trusts either his direct supervisor or the sergeant; the same holds true within the criminal circles, as Jimmy only relies on his brother, while Matt has his machine gun. Fans of tense, fast-paced crime thrillers will want to read this terrific police procedural.

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