Review

Nowhere Safe

by Nancy Bush

Detective September Rafferty is working on a case involving the murder of a near-naked man tied to a flagpole when another man is found in the same compromising position. Both of them were wearing a placard around their necks, with a cryptic message written in their own hand. The words themselves arouse suspicions.

Still recovering from a nasty encounter in the Do Unto Others case, September is finally beginning to turn things around. She has reconnected with Jake, a long-time friend, now turned lover; her injured shoulder is healing nicely; and she feels able to return to work on a more or less full-time basis. Unfortunately, most of the Laurelton police department is reeling from a flu-like bug. So rounding up enough manpower to hunt down this latest perpetrator is a chore of major proportions.

"September Rafferty is one of those characters not easily forgotten. Enviable in her strength, both physical and moral, she is a brilliant compilation of all that the public could want in a police officer."

As Detective Rafferty and her temporary partner gather evidence, clues point to a vigilante who may be hunting down sexual predators. That almost sounds like a good thing. But whether or not September thinks the victims deserve what they get, she has pledged to protect and serve, and that’s just what she will do.

Meanwhile, the body of a young woman surfaces in a local park. Is that another murder or a suicide? The answer to that is murky at best. Either way, the woman’s death does not seem to be linked to September’s current two cases. Or is it?

On the domestic scene, September has been thinking long and hard, and has made the decision to accept Jake’s invitation to move in with him. It’s a big step, but she thinks she is finally ready. Her biggest concern is Loni, Jake’s long-time ex-girlfriend who doesn’t want to let go, despite his assurance that it’s really and truly over. Loni still calls him --- at all sorts of inconvenient times --- and lays on a thick guilt trip. Will Jake buckle? September tries not to doubt him, but her fears sometimes overtake her heart. Then something happens that rocks her world to the core.

Just when it looked like everything might fall into place on her cases, witnesses clam up and come close to being downright hostile. What’s going on? The detectives are chasing a phantom vigilante, following leads through a drippy Portland, Oregon and its surroundings. You can almost feel the drizzle and the heavy cloud cover, along with the chill in the air. It’s perfect weather for spine-tingling fear.

September Rafferty is one of those characters not easily forgotten. Enviable in her strength, both physical and moral, she is a brilliant compilation of all that the public could want in a police officer. And she’s also a radiant compilation of all that Jake could want in a woman. She leaves her hard edges at the precinct, even as she carries her gun out to dinner. Now, if only they can find this vigilante and restore public peace of mind.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on September 6, 2013

Nowhere Safe
by Nancy Bush