Dear Ms. Layne:
Yes, it’s another cop book. Furthermore, it’s another NYPD book but I must confess my creepy love (previous recipients of this dubious gift include Julie James, golden retrievers and potatoes) for one Lauren Layne. I haven’t read the previous books in the series because I know how to ration my creepiness, but I knew Lauren could make this second book in a series work as a standalone. I believe in you, Lauren. Just like I believe in Julie James, golden retrievers and potatoes.
Our hero is a police captain (this is very important) Anthony Moretti. Anthony spends 23 hours a day policing and one hour a day scowling. He decides to cut down on police work to devote more time to his scowling when the new waitress, Maggie, at his local diner spills food on him and continues to do so every day. Maybe if Anthony spent less time scowling and more time solving crimes, he’d have caught the burglar terrorizing New York by now. The burglar has been nicknamed Smiley (eh, C. It’s not exactly ‘Son of Sam’ is it?) because he leaves a Wet Bandits-style calling card at all the houses he’s hit (a smiley face). Taking a break from using Anthony’s lap as a waste bin, Maggie decides to help him with his case when she recognizes a police sketch of Smiley as her ex-husband. Anthony gratefully accepts her help, but wait, she’s not gonna want a…relationship, is she?
So, yeah, I loved this book. Control your shocked faces. Maggie was heartbreakingly sweet and perpetually screwed over and just wanted a damn break in life. Anthony’s arrogance and snootiness at the opening of the book (correcting her with “Captain” when she called him “Officer”) did nothing but make me love her more and made me viciously suspicious of his intentions with my Maggie. The villain of the book was less-than-menacing (what’s a burglar in a world of murderers and stalkers and desensitized readers?), but that did nothing to dampen the tension and suspense.
Spoiler (spoiler): Show
Putting that aside, the rest of the book is curiously affecting. I felt deeply for Maggie’s character and prayed fervently for her to get a chance to play on Captain Moretti’s ‘mandolin’ (you’re welcome). So, unfortunately for you, Ms Layne, my creepy love shall remain an ever-fixèd mark.