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Act of Deceit
A Harlan Donnally, No 1
Steven Gore

September 2011 / 9780062025067

Reviewed by Barbara Buhrer

Former San Francisco police detective, Harlan Donnally, who was retired on disability after being shot on the job, now runs a small cafe in northern California. He promises his dying friend, Maurici, to find his young sister, Anna, who he had placed in a home when she was 5 years old.

Donnally's search finds that Anna had been killed years ago and her alleged killer was never prosecuted, having been declared incompetent. Donnally feels the need to find the truth and searches for answers to what happened in the '70's with the Berkley protests and the drug culture that could have led to her murder.

He brings the alleged killer to the attention of the police, but he is blocked by the legal system about proof of incompetency. He wonders if he is the only voice demanding that Anna's death not go unpunished. He suspects that there is more to the case and his search for the truth takes him into the world of child abuse and child pornography as far as Cancun, Mexico.

This is a fast-paced, true-to-life tale of deceit and degradation. It involved aspects of society from the homeless to the ultra-rich. It dwells on the inept system that provides health services for the mentally ill in prison and on the legal trappings that don't provide justice for the mentally ill. The author dwells, too, on the power and secrecy of the Catholic Church and the corruption of the Mexican police. A powerful theme to be considered.

Reviewed 2011
© 2011