by L.J. Sellers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If Crimes of Memory (Thomas & Mercer 2013) is your first L.J. Sellers’ Detective Jackson mystery, be patient. I’ve read all nine books in this series (see my review on Rules of Crime) and it took me a bit to get used to the unique introspective style of this thoughtful detective. He is clever, intelligent, and caring, not necessarily in that order when he’s fighting crime. In his world, his life is as important as the crime he’s fighting. By that I mean he cares how his job–the long hours, the lawless people, even the mental anguish it puts him through–affects those he loves. In many series, authors deal with that by destroying any semblance of a personal life their heroes have (read Alex Berenson’s latest John Wells thriller, The Counterfeit Agent–you’ll see what I mean). In this series, Sellers actually tries to mesh job and personal in a workable formula.
In Crimes of Memory, Detective Jackson struggles with several seemingly disparate crimes (a body stuffed in a storage container, a bomb explosion at a factory) in the aftermath of his ex-wife’s death, his daughter’s grief, and his personal struggle with ‘is it all worth it’. Even as his own life seems headed for a breakdown, he can’t stop himself from following the clues, making connections, and ultimately solving the crime. Since this is a series, there is no real ending to the story, just a sense that there’s a light in the darkness that might not be an attack helicopter.
If this were my first Detective Jackson book, I might rate this a three or four star book, wishing Jackson was more like other lawmen heroes–hard-bitten, jaded, cynical, driven to protect the world. But there are a lot of great books that deliver that character. Here, I get change, an unusual character, a peak into how a family life can mesh successfully (if rockily) with saving the world. That’s worth five stars and a recommendation to read the entire series.
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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. In her free time, she is editor of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.