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The Big Thrill Recommends: FACE OF GREED by James L’Etoile

Recommended by Damyanti Biswas


James L’Etoile’s long career in correctional institutions has clearly paid off in the writing of his crime fiction. The police work and forensics in his police procedural, FACE OF GREED, is immaculate, but more importantly, it brings us a detective we can root for.

Emily Hunter, aptly named for the way she hunts killers, is sympathetic because of her tenacity and refusal to be cowed down in the face of incredible odds, from her mother’s dementia to the corruption in the ranks, which brings her face-to-face with many threats. Law enforcement remains a man’s world, and Emily is a fabulous detective who pushes the envelope despite the inherent sexism at her place of work. Her interactions with her law enforcement partner, Detective Javier Medina, are wonderfully collegial, and their investigative chutzpah, in the face of all their superior’s efforts to quash the investigation, is commendable.

The story goes through a series of twists and turns, and L’Etoile keeps you on your toes, guessing. You try to figure out if those you suspect are, in fact, innocent, and those not on your radar could be suspect, as L’Etoile weaves many threads into a realistic yet enthralling narrative. The political, social, and personal aspects are equally important, and you get invested in them all as you read on: each contributes towards the ending, and none of it is superfluous in this taut story. The procedural aspects are fascinating, and as each clue and layer is revealed, you wonder how all of it would add up—and eventually, you’re rewarded with an utterly unexpected, yet inevitable, ending.

Sacramento comes alive in FACE OF GREED, and once you read it, you’ll want to go off with Emily Hunter and Javier Medina on another adventure, rooting for them to prevail against all odds in their relentless quest for justice.


The Big Thrill Recommends: FACE OF GREED by James L’Etoile

Damyanti Biswas