"Justice in the Shadows," by award winning author Radclyffe, is the fourth action-packed mystery in the Justice series following the engrossing prequels, "A Matter of Trust," "Shield of Justice," and "In Pursuit of Justice." To her credit and her fans delight, Radclyffe has successfully produced another wonderful addition to her impressive writing résumé. She is the author of twenty (and counting) published novels. Her writing is posted on-line, included in anthologies, and is available in other venues. Not surprisingly, "Justice in the Shadows" is a 2005 Golden Crown Literary Society award finalist.
In the latest Justice book, two cops have been assassinated, a young girl is dead, and an innocent woman lies in a coma, all the result of a child pornography ring. Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) Detective Sergeant Rebecca Frye wants to find out who is behind the murders of her partner Jeff Cruz, Officer Jimmy Hogan, a young prostitute, and the attempted murder of J.T. Sloan...that is until Clark Avery, the Justice Department Investigator, pulls the plug on the investigation. Something reeks of an inside job and Rebecca Frye will not rest until justice is done; she does not intend to add the unsolved case to the dead pile. Captain Henry gives the okay for Frye to head her own secret task force to see what she can uncover.
Rebecca puts together a team of unlikely candidates including her new partner, Detective William Watts, internet sleuth J.T. Sloan, and Sloan's business associate Jason McBride. Other members of her team include rookie cop, Dellon Mitchell; young prostitute and certified informant, Sandy; and Rebecca's lover, PPD psychiatrist Dr. Catherine Rawlings. With a great cast of characters, the reader can't help but root for each one. Sloan's lover, Michael Lassiter, lies in a coma after she becomes a mistaken target meant for Sloan...who will go to any lengths to avenge her attackers.
Radclyffe is a master at combining intense police drama and mystery along with an in-depth look at three loving and fulfilling lesbian relationships. She keeps the reader interested, excited, and guessing; it's hard to put the book down. As always, Radclyffe's work has compelling narrative, enough conflict and drama to sustain the story, unforgettable characters, natural sounding and credible dialogue. In addition, her writing is a perfect example of how sex does not get in the way of the plot; the sex scenes move the plot along and add depth to her characters. The author shows us the tough exterior of Rebecca when she is commanding her team, then contrasts that with her tender side when she makes love to her soul mate, Catherine. The same can be said about the budding relationship between Mitchell and Sandy. Mitchell is a hotheaded young cop, while Sandy is a street wise, smart mouthed kid. The growth of these two characters is particularly captivating.
As in all good series, several major story lines are resolved, while a few loose threads remain to keep us on edge for the next book in this series. I'm looking forward to the continuing adventures when "Justice Served" comes out June 2005. I recommend Radclyffe's "Justice in the Shadows" to anyone who enjoys intense crime stories with lots of intrigue, and with hot sex thrown in for good measure. If you like this kind of drama, don't miss "Justice in the Shadows"...a five star novel.