Thursday, June 28, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Dark Water (DCI Erika Foster #3) by Robert Bryndza

Dark Water is a strong 4.5 Stars rounded up to reward the author for improvements made from the first two books  (The Girl in the Ice and The Night Stalker) that resulted in a more sympathetic main character and a change to the criminal elements of the plot.

This is the 3rd book in the DCI Erika Foster series by Robert Bryndza and probably the best book by him that I have read so far. One of my complaints about the first two books was how similarly the main character's behavior and treatment was (Erika  acts irresponsibly and unprofessionally multiple times and eventually gets put in mortal danger in both).

Happily, in the third book the obnoxious behavior Erika frequently displays in the previous books is greatly reduced, although she does still behave rashly and inappropriately. But most of this behavior is in her interpersonal relations and not in her professional police capacity.

There are lot of other differences in this book than the first two. The major crime here is a kidnapping (of a 7 year old girl) whose body is found in the first chapter of the book some 26 years after her disappearance. Also, Erika is now in a different setting, having asked for and received a transfer from her previous posting so she has a new boss and new subordinates to lead. Happily, her sidekicks from the first two books make another appearance in Dark Water: DI Peterson, a tall, handsome black guy with anger management issues and DI Moss, a short chubby white lesbian with a tart tongue (these two characters are some of the strongest aspects of each of the books, IMHO). Sadly, Dr. Strong, the openly gay pathologist who is Erika’s best friend makes only a brief cameo in this book . This was disappointing since he was almost a primary character in the previous book, The Night Stalker. Erika’s sister (and her three young kids) has an important storyline in Dark Water as well. As I have said before, a key strength of most murder mystery/police procedural/detective novels is the complexity the author brings to the secondary characters in addition to the protagonist. Moss and Peterson are a sizable portion of why I am interested in reading rest of the books in the DCI Erika Foster series.

The marketing for the Dark Water boasts about a "killer twist" but the twist was not really that surprising to me, although the person(s) responsible for the deaths that occurred in the story was something of a surprise.

Overall, I felt both the plotting and characterizations were much improved in this third book; I am very happy with the changes Bryndza made from the first two books in the series. Erika is a much more likable character in Dark Water without losing any of the suspenseful impact of the story. I look forward to reading the next books in the Erika Foster series and hope that Bryndza continues producing them in rapid succession.

Title: Dark Water (DCI Erika Foster, #3).
Robert Bryndza.
Paperback: 416 pages.
Date Published: October 20, 2016.
Date Read: July 1, 2014.

GOODREADS RATING: ★★★★½☆  (4.5/5.0).

OVERALL GRADE: A- (3.67/4.0).


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