Relic, by Anne Hagen

Reviewed by andy smart

A detective novel lives or dies based on two things: the plot and the characters. If you respond well to the detective, the suspects and the supporting cast then you can live with a somewhat ropey plot line (let’s face it, the plots of many of the Sherlock Holmes stories are a bit, well, thin). If you’re obsessed with the journey to the denouement then it doesn’t matter too much, though it does matter somewhat, if the folks doing the detecting aren’t totally engaging. Though actually, for me, I can live with great people creating and ropey plot more than the other way around.

Fortunately for me, Ann Hagen has come up with people for this novel I do really like. Customs agent Dana Rossi who arrives in the small town of Morelville, Ohio investigating counterfeit goods and Sheriff Mel Crane in charge of local law enforcement. Okay, given that there is a sort of formula to first novels in a lesbian detective series, it’s not going to be a spoiler alert if I said which way they’re heading now is it? They’re both well created and with any luck if the series runs long enough we’ll get to really know and like them both. I don’t know anything about American small towns, beyond what you see on the telly, but Morelville is a realistic enough place for me with just the right mix of ordinary folks, dodgy folks from out of town, and local ecentrics.

The plot is a bit convoluted, but not so much that you lose track of what is going on nor who might be doing it. There are different crime streams and inter-agency rivalries, but it keeps moving along. As per the rule of the site, no plot spoilers.

All I can say is that I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series,

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