Review

Strip Search

by William Bernhardt

William Bernhardt is a former trial lawyer who has written a
successful series of legal mysteries featuring attorney Ben
Kincaid. While Kincaid fans may be disappointed that this new book
is not about their hero, they are sure to become just as attached
to the unlikely couple originally created for DARK EYE.

Susan Pulaski is a former homicide detective who was moved from her
position of authority to “light duty” after spending
months in rehab for her drinking problem. You love her from the
minute she decks an obnoxious masher through her struggles to
maintain her sobriety in the face of distrust and disrespect from
her fellow officers. Darcy O’Bannon, son of her Police Chief,
is a brilliant math savant with the social skills of a
five-year-old. Having worked with autistic kids during my
residential treatment days, I applaud Bernhardt for capturing the
essence of these amazing people --- so capable and mature in some
ways yet the eternal child in others.

Despite his father’s objections, Darcy cajoles Susan into
taking him along as she visits the crime scenes of a seemingly
unrelated series of victims who are being killed and maimed at an
alarming rate. What can the connection be between an Indian
immigrant who is an engineer working in a fast food joint because
he couldn’t find work in his field, and a porn star who broke
through the glass ceiling and became head of her own production
company? Yet both are victims of the same vicious killer, who
leaves clues in the form of complex equations. Still, the police
are baffled.

Although the murderer is known to the reader, Bernhardt has created
a page-turner that will keep you guessing until he reveals the
motive that drives these horrendous crimes. There is an element of
religious fervor involved that is rooted in generational sin.
Without giving anything away, the evil one is driven by the
audacity to think that she could reduce the universe to a common
denominator and then give God the finger.

As always, the author provides enough action to hold your interest
but keeps things orderly enough to avoid confusion. His research
and attention to detail allow the reader to feel the intensity of a
crime scene and to experience the painstaking work necessary in
solving a mystery. The wonderful characterizations are ala mode on
this freshly baked pie! Susan --- sassy and sad, salty and smart
--- stirs something in the hearts of all who have walked in her
shoes. No offense to Ben Kincaid, but I will be looking forward to
the next Susan Pulaski story.

Strip Search
by William Bernhardt

  • Publication Date: August 28, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0345470192
  • ISBN-13: 9780345470195