Port City Black and White
A Brandon Blake Mystery by Gerry Boyle
Review: Twenty-three year old officer-in-training Brandon Blake's belief that there is no gray area between right and wrong is sorely tested — both professionally and personally — in Port City Black and White, the second mystery in this series by Gerry Boyle.
Brandon's field training officer has been trying to instill into her young recruit that not everything is so simple on the streets; that's just the way the world operates, and most especially in the area of police work. Brandon must learn to deal with people, talk to them, find out what makes them tick. She wants him to at least try to understand the causes of a criminal's behavior. Brandon, though, thinks that is the job of social workers, not police officers. His job is to enforce the law. Period. End.
Brandon answers a call to stop the loud noises coming from a third floor apartment. This was not the first complaint filed against the occupants, Chantelle and her six month old son Lincoln. When he arrives the place is a mess, Chantelle spaced out on her couch, high on crack. Lincoln is nowhere to be found. Concerned for the child's welfare, Brandon comes down hard on Chantelle, yelling at her and telling her it is her fault the baby is missing. She meekly tells him that she thought he was asleep in another room. He continues to browbeat her, asking if she sold her son for crack money. Or did Lincoln's father come and take him away. Was he kidnapped? It all becomes too much for Chantelle to bear. While the officers who answered the call questioned neighbors, Chantelle commits suicide by jumping into the river from a bridge. Brandon is blamed for her suicide and told to take time off so others could take on the case. But Brandon does not. He decides to pursue his own investigation, seeking any information that may lead to finding Lincoln. That is his job: find the bad guys and put them away.
Port City Black and White is a riveting character study, one that follows the idealism of a young, hot-headed cop with a troubled past, who can't seem to realize that he, himself, is acting in a gray area all the while acting as if everything else can only be perceived to be one way or another, black or white. Furthermore, he seems blind to the fact that what may work in his professional life — and there's no indication that it can or will, long-term — simply cannot and will not work in his personal life. This is a strongly written mystery, one that is hard to predict how it will all turn out … and at what cost to everyone involved.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Port City Black and White.
Acknowledgment: Down East Books provided a copy of Port City Black and White for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Down East Books (Hardcover), May 2010
ISBN-13: 9780892727964; ISBN-10: 0892727969
Location(s) referenced in Port City Black and White: Portland, Maine
— ♦ —
Port City Black and White by Gerry Boyle — A Brandon Blake Mystery
Publisher: Down East Books
Publication Date: September 2011
List Price: $24.95