Tuesday, July 15, 2014

One O'Clock Hustle by Joanne Pence

Joanne Pence plays with the cop-cozy dynamic in One O'Clock Hustle by making the cop a woman and the damsel-in-distress a dude-in-distress in a way that works really well. Rebecca Mayfield is known as a by-the-books homicide inspector, but Richie Amalfi, a man who lives by his own rules, lowers her defenses and has her questioning not only the rules but her own sense of right and wrong. When Amalfi becomes the prime suspect in a murder, he wants nothing more than to prove his innocence and get on with his life, and he will stop at nothing to do it. Amalfi doesn't even seem to realize he's a dude-in-distress as he runs around town trying to solve the crime he's accused of committing even when his actions tend to make matters worse. Mayfield is thrown into the role of protecting, defending, and investigating Amalfi all at once. To make matters more complicated, there's an undeniable attraction between them she's determined to ignore. Pence's characters exhibits an amalgam of strength, vulnerability, intelligence, and ineptness all rolled into a wonderfully human mash that makes them all the more real. Pence injects humor through the use of the unexpected as well as playing on images of stereotypes. One O'Clock Hustle hustles the reader through the streets of San Francisco on emotional high and lows as crime, frustration, and mayhem play a dangerous game with Inspector Mayfield and Richie Amalfi.

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