An appealing hero leads a spirited cast in this diverting crime tale.
My sequel to City of Grudge, Blood in the Water has gotten favorable reviews. This is what Kirkus Review wrote:
In this second novel to feature Walker Holmes, the series protagonist is flawed but sympathetic. It’s painful to watch him drink excessively while his habitual retorts provoke many of the punches that Walker endures.
The strongest among the cast are Walker’s allies, particularly his female friend Dare Evans, who refuses to give up on him, no matter how deep in the bottle he falls. Nevertheless, the most indelible character is Walker’s chocolate Lab mix, Big Boy, whose steadfast loyalty is a welcome contrast to the human characters’ underhandedness.
Less nuanced are the villains, consisting primarily of police officers who are aggressive, transparently racist, and amoral. Their crimes include arresting someone on unquestionably trumped-up charges. Still, they’re definitely a danger to Walker and all of his comrades.
Outzen excels at detailing the environment, especially the town in the aftermath of the destructive storm. The tale boasts a bit of mystery since the killers responsible for a murder or two later in the story aren’t immediately apparent. And though identifying the culprits isn’t difficult, watching a determined Walker search for solid evidence is certainly gratifying.