Review of ‘Justification for Murder’

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After an undercover operation gone bad left him with one eye, former Seattle cop, Darcy Lynch took a desk job in a quiet town—or so he thought. Happy to answer the phone and deal with hit-and-run accidents, he’s nonplussed when a hit-and-run call turns into an attempted murder. He wants off the case, but his boss won’t pull him off, and he develops a personal interest in the intended victim.

Detective Erik Sorensen is assigned to a couple of weird suicides, and is running into nothing but dead ends, until he and Lynch find out that their cases overlap in a bizarre way.

Justification for Murder by Elin Barnes is a well-done mystery that has elements of police procedural and cozy entwined with lots of wry humor. While Lynch is the main protagonist, Sorensen, as his sidekick, plays a significant role. The two together make a sort of male Cagney and Lacy cop team that works in a dysfunctional kind of way.

Punchy dialogue and taut action, with more information about dogs than you’ll probably ever need to know—it doesn’t add too much to solving the mystery, but helps give a deeper understanding of the character. After all, who doesn’t like a person who likes and understands dogs?

Read this book in one day—a rainy day, at that. Couldn’t put it down until I was finished. Four stars!

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