DEA Agent Colby Vincent goes undercover as a homeless Vet investigating a prescription drugs racket. Instantly we have a whole heap of issues around homelessness, invisibility and drugs. Powell draws the Vet’s with compassion and realism – she has a keen eye for the unpleasant behaviors of a pack of men.
We feel Colby’s isolation, her fear and hunger through a well-written narrative. Life on the streets is brought to into stark relief with her constant movement to avoid the police, staying below the radar, searching for food and shelter, and yet also having to be continually wary of the men who were once her comrades. Colby’s newness to her role, and the abruptness of her insertion, make this an emotionally raw experience.
The Vet’s are drawn with an observant eye and keen understanding. The roles men take in a gang are used to good effect and the quirks and personalities add colour to the story. Sing Song, another of the homeless Colby meets, is amusing and yet full of pathos with her obvious knowledge of surviving at any cost.
The crime mystery is well done. The plot is interesting and keeps the story moving along as Colby gets closer to the answers. It neatly intertwines with the romance element as Colby finds herself drawn to the CEO of the local homeless shelter. The attraction is strong, but romance takes second place as both women have ethical reasons why they cannot get involved.
Well-written, enjoyable storyline, excellent use of location to add colour to the background, and extremely well drawn characters. VK Powell has created a great sense of life on the streets in an excellent crime/mystery with a turbulent but charming romance.
(publisher review copy received)
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