The Last Good Place – Robin Burcell

(Reviewed by JD Jung)

A serial killer is on the loose, attacking at San Francisco landmarks. This “landmark strangler” has put the city on edge. When Trudy Salvatori is strangled during her morning run around the Presidio, it looks like she could be another victim. Or as we later learn, maybe this murder is  totally different, like at the hands of a politician or a jealous neighbor or husband.

Sergeant Casey Kellog , at twenty nine years old is put on the case along with his veteran partner, Al. Casey is the youngest and newest investigator in Homicide. He depends on his textbook knowledge to try and solve cases while Al makes use of his intuition and years of  experience. Some officers on the force are resentful of Casey for moving up the ranks so quickly. In addition to putting an end to these murders, Casey wants to solve this case to prove to the others that the promotion is due to competence and not favoritism.

As it’s all work and no play, Casey’s personal life isn’t that exciting; actually it’s almost nonexistent. He has a chance with a female officer and a journalist tries to worm her way into Casey’s life to promote her own, though meaningful agenda. But with so much pressure to solve the case, who has time for a personal life?

The Last Good Place has so many side stories–some that may be related to the case and some not—that it adds riveting layers to the book. Some elements are predictable, but there’s enough suspense to keep the  reader engaged and satisfied.

Author Robin Burcell took the main characters from Carolyn Weston’s “Poor Poor Orphelia” which became the 1970’s hit television series, “The Streets of San Francisco.” Burcell has impressive credentials herself. Before becoming a full-time novelist, she spent almost three decades in law enforcement as a police officer, criminal investigator, hostage negotiator and forensic artist.

The Last Good Place is the latest of Burcell’s many novels, and I am looking forward to reading more of them.

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