“Outside the Wire”

outside“Outside the Wire” by Patricia Smiley is the second book in the “Pacific Homicide” series. A new reader will enjoy this book without having read the previous book, because the author provides quick background comments in the context of the storyline to fill in anything needed from the previous book. “Outside the wire” is military term used when teams leave the safety of base camp, and this classic police procedure story certainly lives up to its title.

A body is found in a parking garage at LAX; Davie Richards and her partner Jason Vaughn, LAPD homicide detectives, are called to investigate. Within the crime scene, they observe one especially usual thing; the victim is wearing a single dog tag. Why would a sixty-something man wear a military dog tag and why only one? This starts a baffling case that leads to additional murders, additional questions, and few answers.

Readers follow Richards through her everyday activities. We get to know her well as she struggles to balance her job, her personal life, and her past demons. Will she run in the Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup? We sympathize with her as she tries to care for the victim’s cat. We understand the frustration when she runs out of coffee. We watch as she methodically writes note after note in the Murder Book. We see her fight to balance following the rules with stopping a killer. We guess along with her who is dishonest and who is telling the truth.

“Murders lie for a lot of reasons … but they always lie.”

The pace is fast, and the dangers are countless. The unanswered questions are compelling, and the ending is unexpected.

I received a copy of “Outside the Wire” from Patricia Smiley, Midnight Ink, and NetGalley. It kept me turning the pages until the nail-biting end. I recommend that you block time to finish this book when you start because once on that first page, you will not be able to put this book down.