Author: Karen M. Davis
Sinister Intent is the debut novel of Karen M. Davis, a former police officer and detective with twenty years experience. This experience certainly shines through with her insightful and believable portrayal of the officers in Sinister Intent.
I’m not sure whether this is a stand alone or the beginning of a series but my personal wish is for the beginning of a series. I found myself quite attached to some of these characters and would love to hear more from them, I’m sure there are more stories in their arsenals.
Lexie Rogers worked in Sydney’s Kings Cross for eight years as a uniformed officer before a serious run in with a bikie and his knife saw her take some time off before moving to Bondi Junction as a detective. She starts back determined to prove herself, determined to show that she’s strong enough for the job and completely recovered from her injuries. Physically she may be healed but the damage went much deeper than that and she is still facing some struggles. Her new boss has instructed the detectives not to question her but the police grapevine means they have some information, though all are very good at keeping their curiosity to themselves when it comes to filling in the gaps.
Unfortunately for Lexie her first job as a detective is to execute a warrant at a bikie clubhouse and her strength is sorely tested. She handles herself well though panic, understandably, threatens to overcome her. The search goes bad and sets off a series of events that takes us deep into the club mentality of loyalty and meting their own justice.
Davis describes many of the issues facing the police in both their personal and professional lives; working endless hours, eating what and when they can access, struggling against codes of silence to progress investigations, the fear of personal retaliation for on the job actions and the effect on personal relationships. I also think Lexie is most definitely battling a degree of post traumatic stress which is only exacerbated by the fact that she is entrenched in the bikie world once more, even if they are different clubs.
The shooting of one biker begins an investigation that is both engrossing and chilling. The action is continuous and suspenseful, you will be hard pressed to put this one down as you try to get one step ahead of the police and work out what is going on. I picked the shooter early, which was no detractor because quite often I can predict that, but there were so many other twists that I really did not see coming. There are many questions remaining for me which is why I hope this begins a series, having said that these questions take nothing from my enjoyment of Sinister Intent, if anything they add to the enjoyment.
The story takes many twists and turns demonstrating how small even the biggest city can be. There are unexpected connections tying some of the officers together which makes their stories very much more interesting.
Lexie is first partnered with Brad Sommers, a detective she instinctively trusts and believes is exactly as he seems. Unfortunately he suffers an injury, on his own time, and is off work so Lexie finds herself partnered with Detective Sergeant Josh Harrison.
Harrison has some troubles of his own. He is a straight up detective and passionate about his job but he is damaged. What comes across as aloof and distanced is a total fear of intimacy, a chemistry he wasn’t expecting and doesn’t want, and a personal vow to never get involved with a colleague.
Lexie too has vowed that colleagues are off limits, even knowing that office romances or flings are very common because officers tend to spend the most time with other officers and their work hours make it very difficult to meet other people. Not to mention the dangers of their job can be quite off putting to people who aren’t in the business.
The chemistry between Josh and Lexie is engaging, because of their personal baggage there is a lot of misunderstanding and crossed wires so you are totally glued to trying to work out if they will ever get themselves sorted out. You also have to wonder whether it will be the chemistry or the personal vows that will win out in the end.
The Devil’s Guardians and the Assassins are rival bikie gangs running in the same area, which is always a risk of ending up in a gang war over territory and I think that’s exactly how someone had this whole situation planned to play out. I’m not sure that I would buy a set-up of the Devil’s Guardians by the Assassins, thinking they generally try to keep the police out of bikie business, though at the same time what better way to make life difficult for them than to bring them under police scrutiny.
There is a long rivalry between the two clubs, exacerbated recently by a stupid action that began a pub brawl. We never really discover what initiated the bad blood years ago and that kept me curious, always hoping to find out and the question was never suitably answered for me.
This novel is suspenseful and gripping, totally page turning and kept me up at night. Now I can only hope that Davis hears my pleas and brings us more about the Bondi Junction Detective office, and Rex Donaldson of the Devil’s Guardians because there is a lot more to him than meets the eye I think and I for one want to know more.