Author : David Grace
Publisher : Wildside Press
ISBN-10 : 143444113X
ISBN-13 : 978-1434441133


Forget genre, good plain writing never goes out of style. David Grace’s latest thriller, The Concrete Kiss, is good plain writing and coupled with an exciting plot, it’s a great read.

Homicide Detective Ned Danes is appalled when he finds Deputy D.A. Worthington has deliberately withheld video evidence from a defence lawyer in order to get a conviction and further his own career. Danes has one of two options: let an innocent man go to prison or become a whistleblower and see his prospects of promotion sink lower than ground zero.


Detective Danes, one of the good guys, doesn’t even think twice – he passes the video to the defendant’s attorney and when he’s subpoenaed to appear for the defence his testimony ensures D.A. Worthington’s case is thrown out by the judge.

Furious, Worthington threatens Danes with dismissal, loss of pension and anything else the sleazy prosecutor can think of to bad-mouth a guy who, although it may sound a cliche, is just doing his duty; upholding the truth to protect the innocent. The court scene dialogue, hard edged and believable, I particularly liked Detective Danes reaction to Worthinton’s abuse and I quote: 

Ned Danes had graduated from Marine Corps boot camp, had been shot at twice on the job, had carried a gun into back alleys and crack-dens on more occasions than he cared to remember, and this putz lawyer thought he could frighten him? Really? Danes did the only thing he could under the circumstances. He laughed and walked away…

In a few straightforward sentences author, David Grace gives the reader a definitive description of Danes’ background and character – nice economical writing and unlike some other thriller writers he doesn’t interrupt the pace and flow of the story by padding it with unnecessary details of character’s encounters and pastimes which do nothing to flesh out the characters or advance the plot.

Danes contacts a previous work colleague, F.B.I. Agent Phillip Abbot, to try and salvage his career. Abbott tries to help but Danes is relegated to the Cold Case Squad; his prospects of advancement as dead as the victims in the cases he investigates. Abbott, fast tracked to retirement, has only 60 days left to catch a serial killer whose modus operandi is to murder entire families. He has adopted a young autistic girl, Jessica, whose family was slain by the killer. Time running out, Abbot asks for Danes help to put a stop to the serial killer’s ongoing murderous rampage.              

The story spans five years and during the course of Danes and Abbot’s investigation the plot moves in many different directions – two stories are interleaved: Danes tracking of a killer who tortures and murders young girls and Abbot’s desperate search for the murderer of Jessica’s family. Adrenalin, at heart pumping level the surprises keep right on coming - the bad guys are especially bad but there’s no chance the good guys, Danes and Abbot, will ever give up in this fast paced, hugely exciting thriller.

The Concrete Kiss is a diverting entertaining read and I will be looking for David Grace’s other titles – he’s a good writer.  

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