Jane Perry is the no nonsense detective star of Promissory Payback. She takes her sidearm with her to yoga (or did until the yoga teacher objected, the she quit the class). She takes nothing at face value and takes BS from no one.
Ms Dewey had me liking Jane Perry from the outset, she's sharp but troubled and cuts straight to the heart of solving the case; she also drives a Mustang (one of the best cars in the world, in my opinion!
Her other characters are well drawn too, being believable both in terms of personality but also motivation, and with enough detail to make them seem real in the context of a novella, something that is not always easy to achieve.
The crime is all too believable, with the crime scene one that I found being disturbingly realistic and an essential part of the telling of the tale. As Perry investigates and the evidence mounts the reality behind the crime is revealed. There are both cerebral clues which Dewey's writing ensures the readers understands as well as the obvious more physical evidence there for the reader to see.
I admit I had it worked out in my head before the final pages, which is always a little bit of a shame, sometimes a final twist or the "I didn't see that coming" moment are nice, but in this case they didn't detract from the telling of the story at all.
This story is a novella and works well in that format, the killing has shades of Christie and could easily have come from the pages of her mysteries as from the pen of Laurel Dewey, the crime, motivation of the criminals, and deed itself are all very believable and there is also a palpable sympathy towards the perpetrators at the end.