Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Protector by Laurel Dewey

Laurel Dewey's debut novel, Protector, is an exciting crime thriller that has a hint of the sixth sense. Detective Jane Perry is a disturbed individual who is struggling with demons from the past, and more recently the loss of the family she and her partner were protecting. Jane tends to take her job too seriously, and it hits her hard when the family dies in front of her eyes.

Spiraling slowly out of control, she is saved when nine-year-old Emily Lawrence enters her life. The child is put under Jane's protective care after both her parents were found brutally murdered in their home. Believed to have witnessed her parents' murders, Emily is in danger when the killer makes another attempt on her life.

What follows is an excellent tale of suspense that intensifies as the bond between Jane and Emily grows stronger and the killer takes more and more desperate measures. You can watch the trailer at Laurel Dewey’s website.

Protector seems to be almost too intense for a debut novel, but it is surprisingly realistic in depicting the darkness of the human psyche. Dewey captures the flawed personalities of the characters really well, especially that of the heroine, Detective Jane Perry.

Jane Perry is not your average likable heroine, in fact Dewey's personification of Jane's bad attitude is so realistic that there were many times when you just want to slap that sarcastic mouth of hers and make her show a little respect to her superiors and colleagues.

However, you realize that Jane is a troubled human being just like anyone of us, and is in the process of healing from her past. Jane's and Emily's journey through helping and healing one another in the midst of danger is a touching and emotional process.

There were a few things which bothered me though, among them Dewey’s tendency to be too obvious and repetitive when describing reading people from their body language, I believe that subtlety might have worked better in this case. There were also a few other details which didn’t exactly make sense to me and seemed unrealistic and unlikely.

It may be that Dewey is used to writing non-fiction, having written two non-fiction books, a variety of investigative reporting, celebrity journalism and alternative health research, but she has a knack for storytelling and was nominated for a Silver Spur Award for her western novella, In the Name of the Land. I enjoyed her debut novel immensely and I believe that with time and a sequel to Protector on the way, Dewey can only get better.


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