Compulsively Readable Thrillers
Beach-friendly page-turners that make
even the longest day of summer speed by...
3 of 5
Manon is a suburban, white police detective whose tough attitude
has served her well. That is, until her adopted black son, Fly, becomes a
suspect in a murder. "This is why she took Fly out of London,"
Steiner writes, "because he was getting stopped every five minutes by
coppers who couldn't see past the color of his skin." Although the novel
is a genre procedural (and the second Manon installment), it's also a
whip-smart examination of English society, from the high-powered, wealthy
associates of the murder victim to the cheating middle-class spouses in the
neighborhood to the prostitutes and shop workers who are yanked into the drama.
(Steiner captures all their voices with wit and humor, especially the bodega
owner who delivers his brand of wisdom on reality TV, local criminals, snack food
options and pretty much everything else.) Amid the bloodshed and detective
work, Manon struggles with being a single mother (she's also pregnant as the
story takes place) and rages—understandably—when her
maternal instincts are dismissed by her colleagues. In the process, we're left
with a potent message about how prejudices about race and class obscure clear-cut
— Mark Athitakis