Every Last Secret: A Mystery by Linda Rodriguez (Minotaur Books, $24.99, 289 pages)
Poet Linda Rodriguez, who is part Cherokee and lives in Kansas City, Missouri, brings more than a bit of herself to her first mystery novel. In many ways, it seems as though she is living a fantasy life through the story. The main character is Marquitta Bannion, a female cop in America’s heartland – K.C., Mo. Skeet, as she’s known by her peers, has worked her way up the ranks of the Kansas City Police Department at the cost of her marriage to a fellow officer. To make matters worse, her dad’s tarnished reputation as a cop has shaken her faith in him. She’s half Cherokee which makes her internal struggle even more challenging as she integrates what matters most into her maturing persona. The Native American values Skeet learned from family are sometimes at odds with her work life. With so much tension and disappointment haunting her, Skeet decides to move on in life.
The action takes place at a nearby small town college where Skeet has taken a job as the chief of the campus police. Her hope for a career move away from the turmoil of big city crime fighting is shattered when the student editor of the school newspaper is found murdered. As is to be expected, the tale centers on solving the crime. What is not expected is the knitting our heroine uses as a way of calming and soothing her frazzled nerves. The author is an avid knitter and her knitting references are authentic. It makes for a charming twist to the standard mystery genre.
The underlying themes of an intergenerational struggle and life shifts sets the stage for Skeet to arrive at realizations about her priorities. The action moves smoothly and keeps the reader’s interest. Clearly, Ms. Rodriguez has set up the beginning of an engaging series of novels with a great ending – and the potential for a direct sequel. Stay tuned!
“Murder on a college campus, plenty of bad people, and all kinds of puzzles to solve. Linda Rodriguez has written a highly enjoyable procedural introducing a rough and tender heroine, Skeet Bannion.” Kathleen George, author of The Odds and Hideout.
Every Last Secret was released on April 24, 2012, and is available as a Nook Book and Kindle Edition download.