Monday, February 11, 2013

Book Review: On the Grind by Stephen J. Cannell

Mystery, suspense, corruption, and a family torn apart are combined to create a riveting, fast-paced piece of crime fiction in On the Grind by Stephen J. Cannell.

A veteran of the LAPD, Scully finds himself charged with felony misconduct in a high-profile murder-for-hire case. Accused of having an affair with the suspect and getting rid of evidence, Scully is faced with a tough choice: resign quietly or face prosecution. His wife, Alexa, the chief of detectives, asks for a divorce and his son, Chooch is so hurt he won't even talk to him.

Unable to find work in any other police department, Scully seeks employement from the Haven Park P.D.--a department known for hiring cops other departments have rejected. He soon finds out that the Haven Park P.D. is as crooked as a dog's hind leg. His new partner, Alonzo Bell, might be the dirtiest cop ever to wear a badge. It soon becomes apparent that the entire department is merely the enforcer and collection agency for the town's mayor, Cecil Bratano.

When a Mexican prizefighter decides to run for mayor of Haven Park and promises to end the corruption, Scully is ensnared in a plot to make sure that things stay just as they are. Under constant scrutiny by his new colleagues, the situation for Scully becomes critical, and his wife, Alexa, might be the only one who can ensure he makes it out of Haven Park alive.

Already familiar with some of Cannell's television work--The Rockford Files, The A-Team, Silk Stalkings and The Commish--I eagerly agreed to review On the Grind when contacted by the author's publicist. This latest release in the Shane Scully series has left me wanting to collect all the previous books.

On the Grind is not cluttered with a great deal of backstory, so it moves along at a fast pace, drawing the reader in immediately and leaving her hanging on the edge of her seat until the very last page. While some of Scully's past is interwoven into the current plot, the only details provided are those that assist the reader in connecting the dots, making this a great stand-alone book. The mystery deepens, the suspense builds, and the reader will unconciously find herself biting her nails as the story races along to its satisfying conclusion.

Cannell's masterful storytelling is evident right from the start and never disappoints, keeping the reader engaged and pushing forward, afraid of what he might find, but unable to stop turning the pages.

Some might classify this as a "guy" novel, as the writing is edgy and tough in many places; but I contend that many women will also be fans of Shane Scully after reading On the Grind.

If you are looking for crime fiction at its best, look no further than On the Grind by Stephen Cannell.

Title: On the Grind
Author: Stephen J. Cannell
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN-10: 0-312-36628-0
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-36628-5
SRP: $25.95 (U.S.)

This review first appeared at The Book Connection.

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