The Bottom Line: A high-stakes police procedural that thrills while packing a hefty emotional punch.
When the typically quiet town of Temple, Texas is terrorized by the disappearance of seven beautiful young women, local Detective Matt Brady is tasked with tracking down the abductors.
As in Alan Brenham’s gripping crime thriller Price of Justice, the triumph of good over evil is in constant doubt throughout Cornered. That makes for exciting reading.
But what elevates Brenham’s work is the utter humanity of his protagonist. As an investigator, Brady has no superpowers whatsoever. He’s observant, but perhaps no more so than most detectives. He’s also decidedly uncomfortable dealing with the family members of the disappeared women. And while Brady is no dummy, he gets his edge honestly, drawing on his considerable on-the-job experience and a genuine passion for the work. His vulnerabilities – and his moral compass – make it impossible not to root for him.
Brady’s partner, Carolyn Ruiz, is an attractive 31-year-old who made detective in record time. Despite her master’s degree in public administration, her experience pales in comparison that of Brady. In other words, she compliments him well, but she’s no X-factor. Together, they’re a pair of underdogs badly in need of a break.
Enter veterinarian Tracy Rogers, a woman in her mid-20s with ear-length curly blonde hair. When Rogers’ assistant, Jill, goes missing, Brady arrives to ask questions. Although he finds nothing of value during his initial visit, his legwork eventually pays off when a woman shows up at the vet clinic with a cat suffering from suspicious burns.
That’s just the kind of break Brady needs. But as he presses forward, he soon finds that his own life is in danger.
Brenham, a Texas criminal law attorney and former law enforcement officer, has crafted a top-shelf sizzler that will have you up long past your bedtime.