Daddy in the House

Her Sister's Secret

The Witness by Linda Style
(Harl. Super. #1243, $5.50, PG-13) 0-373-71234-X
If working for a police department is anything like what is described in Linda Style’s The Witness, I can’t imagine any woman wanting to work in one. This is the third book in a multi-author, six book "Women in Blue" series about a group of five women and one female instructor who meet while at the police academy of the Houston Police Department. The six formed a bond that helped them handle the problems of being women in a male-dominated job. In the first book of the series, the bond was severely damaged and the women now feel isolated when dealing with the stresses of police work.

Crista Santiago has recently been assigned to the Chicano Squad. She had asked to be assigned to Special Ops. She grew up in the barrio and had distanced herself from a bad stepfather, a bad marriage and the barrio with education and her work in law enforcement. She likes her partner in the squad, but the captain and the rest of the men are dismissive or crude. When she is assigned a drive-by shooting that injures a small child, she thinks that she may finally be gaining ground, but she soon finds that isn’t true.

Alex Del Rio’s daughter was the victim of the shooting. He oversees a city-run program that is working in the barrio to keep kids from the gangs. He is from a wealthy California family, but moved to Houston when he married his wife. They lived in the large, historic family home with his mother-in-law. After his wife died, he and his daughter continued to live there.

Crista’s investigation quickly becomes extremely difficult. The mayor wants quick results and Alex wants to be involved in the investigation. Her younger brother, a former gang member, gets out of jail and there are hints that he may still be involved with bad elements. Her attraction to Alex and his daughter, Samantha, grows, but she knows that she shouldn’t get too involved with them.

Alex is intrigued by Crista, but she is so different from the traditional woman like his first wife. He sees how dedicated and thorough she is with her work and how good she is with Samantha, so he decides to take the risk, but convincing Crista is not easy.

My immediate reaction at the end of this book was "Wow!" I found the investigation intriguing and the romance touching. I felt the frustration Crista endures within the police system as she tries not betray her personal ethics. The scene where she encounters her ex-husband for the first time in years made me cheer.

I have been reading this series and this one is the best of the three. Because each book is about a different case, it stands alone quite well. I would love to see Alex and Crista in a further story. With his work as a community change agent and her police work, I could see the possibility of further satisfying tales.

--B. Kathy Leitle

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