Shield of Duty
A Lindsay Frost Mystery by Scarlett Dean
Review: The Frost sisters, Kate and her older sibling Lindsay, reside in the "grown up Mayberry" of Southfield Heights in northwest Indiana. Both have ties to the local police department and both have served with Detective Gerald Alvarez. But while Kate is alive and well and partnering with Alvarez in more ways than one, Linz is dead and buried, although not eternally gone — she's hovering around on another level, but according to her, "I'm still on duty." In Shield of Duty, Scarlett Dean chronicles the second set of the Frost sisters' interrelated adventures after Linz has been shot but lingers on to help her sister solve crimes. Like its predecessor, Invisible Shield, Shield of Duty is an intriguing novel about the life and crimes in the here and hereafter.
While Linz, previously "the big sister but now … the dead sister," tells her stories of her after-life acclimatization, and of her new friends, old enemies and a dead mobster client whose killer she is trying to uncover for him, Kate has a murder of her own to solve. During her annual ski weekend at Wisconsin's White Crest Mountain with a cadre of her life-long female friends, parts of Kate's best friend's corpse are found sliced, diced and encased in plaster in Kate's mini-van, minus a missing finger mailed earlier to Kate at the Southfield Heights PD. While Kate's investigation of the case is hindered by snow squalls, recalcitrant suspects and interfering intruders — one memorably named Ed Nog — Linz intervenes to help where and when she can. But she has serious problems to overcome since she has intermittent communications with Kate, none at all with anyone else on earth, and can't always manhandle physical objects. Besides which, the two have a double whammy to deal with when a vengeful, deranged mother-daughter team from the back-story of book one kidnap Kate and her snow bunny friends and threaten to murder them. It's a spine-tingling web of a story before the case gets resolved and the girls get ready to deal with their next body and soul adventures.
Shield of Duty, with its unique blend of paranormal and police procedural, has a strong cast of primary and supporting characters and a couple of action-packed plotlines for independent cases the Frost sisters solve. Dean's speculations about after-life are interesting even though sometimes a bit of a stretch, especially for a couple of scenes of out-of-this-world seduction between Linz and her newly-found romantic partner. But Dean's liberal use of tongue-in-cheek humour is the novel's saving grace for whenever the story begins to get too deadly serious. Overall, it's an entertaining read.
Special thanks to M. Wayne Cunningham (firstname.lastname@example.org) for contributing his review of Shield of Duty.
Acknowledgment: Scarlett Dean provided an ARC of Shield of Duty for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — M. Wayne Cunningham — All Rights Reserved
Reprinted with Permission
Location(s) referenced in Shield of Duty: Indiana
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Shield of Duty by Scarlett Dean — A Lindsay Frost Mystery
Publisher: Five Star
Publication Date: February 2010
List Price: $25.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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