on One by
Michael Brandman is the second installment in the new series.
The former original writer of the Jesse Stone series after
Robert Parker’s death, decided last year to write a
series about a small-town police deputy. Besides a good mystery,
the author intertwines some social issues as well as an ongoing
discussion about assisted suicide.
Sheriff Burton Steel requested his son Buddy leave his job
with LAPD Homicide and come home to become the deputy of Freedom,
California, a privileged coastal community a hundred miles
north of Los Angeles. Reluctantly, he honored the summons
because of a sense of duty, and a willingness to make amends
with his dying father. Burton Steel has Lou Gehrig’s
disease and has pressured his son to pull the plug when necessary
in an assisted suicide.
noted, “I knew someone who pulled the plug on himself.
The guy was a physician and worked out a morphine overdose.
His future was so dim; he did not want to experience the pain.
I wanted to explore in this series the issues of the father/son
dynamic as well as what happens when someone faces mortality.
Burton is not afraid to tell Buddy he will one day ask him
to pull the plug. Although Buddy is horrified, it is a topic
I wanted to delve into, the taking of a life versus ending
a loved one’s suffering.”
for Buddy, he becomes distracted while investigating a fatality.
A popular assistant principal, Hank Carson, who is also the
assistant swimming coach, is brutally murdered with a steak
knife. Further scrutiny reveals that there was another side
to Carson. Some people resent him and are suspicious that
he and some football players could be involved in the abuse
of those on the swim team.
will obviously be reminded of the Penn State football scandal
along with Michigan State’s gymnastic scandal, both
involving sexual abuse. “I wanted to write how a murder
could have happened out of these stories of abuse. This violation
of a sacred trust had people looking the other way. I like
to explore some societal issues. In my first book, Missing
Persons, I explored how some preachers are con men that
emerged as self-righteous. In this novel, I wanted to show
how abuse can impact a victim and what is their recourse.
In my next book, Buddy takes on the developers and Coastal
Commission after a murder takes place.”
sub-plot of the book has Buddy angry over a sudden outbreak
of graffiti. He is forced to find new and challenging ways
to thwart those responsible for defacing buildings with their
so called “street art.” The author wants “to
call attention to this blight and have Buddy find a way to
end it. I am tired of driving around Los Angeles seeing this
horrifying graffiti. I put in a quote in the book to show
these ‘artists’ will do it anywhere and do not
care if it is public or private property.”
is a likeable character who uses self-deprecating humor, sometimes
acting like an overgrown schoolboy. He is easygoing and can
handle people poking fun at him. Being smart, caring, and
understanding of people’s emotional pain, Buddy has
a moral sense of right versus wrong.
Readers will enjoy this fast-paced mystery. With well-developed
characters and a plot that takes issues straight from the
headlines, this is a good read.