Tuesday, July 24, 2012

book review: Close Case by Alafair Burke

The backstory: Close Case is the third mystery in Alafair Burke's Samantha Kincaid series. Read my reviews of the first two books: Judgment Calls and Missing Justice.

The basics: When high-profile reporter Percy Crenshaw is murdered, the cops immediately identify a suspect and secure a somewhat suspicious confession. ADA Samantha Kincaid must try the case with the evidence given, even as she searches for alternate theories about the crime.

My thoughts: I'm a huge fan of this series, and I both adore the character of Samantha Kincaid (and the well-developed characters of her family, friends and colleagues) and the fascinating mysteries she solves. Burke does a phenomenal job of teaching the reader about the law and about Portland, Oregon:
"But in our hot spots, our most frequent calls aren't for robbery or rape. They're for stuff like loitering, graffiti, and street-level drug crimes. That's the kind of stuff that makes a neighborhood feel unsafe. And once it feels unsafe, the good guys start hiding inside and the bad guys take over. All the warm, fuzzy talk about community policing aside, our whole philosophy right now is to get our guys out there, talking to these kids on the corners, and stopping and searching them when necessary."
There are numerous elements at play in this mystery, and the city of Portland, its crime, and its racial make-up are a huge part of this novel. Burke tackles social issues as flawlessly as she does the crime, and both are improved by the strength of the other.

The verdict: Close Case is a superb installment in the Samantha Kincaid series: it's the best novel in an excellent series. The combination of current events and mystery was intriguing, thought-provoking and suspenseful. I hope Alafair Burke will return to this series and continue Samantha Kincaid's journey.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Length: 368 pages
Publication date: June 26, 2005
Source: purchased for my Kindle

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Close Case from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle version.)

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!


  1. I haven't read any of the books in this series, but you make them sound intriguing and like something that I would enjoy. I like the fact that the elements of the novel felt so genuine and might have to consider reading one of these when I can. Great review today. It was nice to get your take on it!

    1. Zibilee, I'm a huge fan of this series. Burke is a great writer and the combination of character and mystery is so good!

  2. In high school, I went on a huge jag reading her father's books -- he has a character named Alafair, I think the hero's love interest -- and I can't believe I haven't read hers. Now and then I love a good mystery series and your enthusing for the heroine has sold me -- must get started!

    1. I'm a huge mystery fan, and this series is one of the best. I'm really looking forward to starting her other series soon!

  3. I really like that quote. It's a great observation, and I think she's right.

    1. I totally agree. That's one of the things I love about this series: Burke explores so much more than just the crimes.


Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!