This is the first of Coffin’s Detective Byron Series based in Portland and Westbrook, Maine. The story of serial cop murders is lent great credibility by Coffin’s 12 years of experience on the Portland police force as a Detective Sergeant. He knows the procedures, staff relationships, necessary mental clarity, laws, dangers, and emotions of one engaged in ethical law enforcement.
Fairly early in the story, there are suggestions that the murders are an internal department problem and the challenge for John Byron is of course figuring out who, when, how, and why. You may have suspicions that prove to be correct, but the author rolls out the solution with twists and setbacks that leave the reader unsure, and compelled to get back to the story after any short break. Character types will be familiar because of the great exposure to vast numbers of detective books, movies and TV shows on the market, but Coffin avoids cliches and commonly used extremes of personality that we almost expect. This makes his story more real and easier to relate to.
An extra bonus for Maine readers is the anticipation of what Portland venues his characters will visit, as there are many they will recognize. I greatly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the sequels, Beneath the Depths and Beyond the Truth.