SINISTER INTENT - Karen M Davis
According to her bio author Karen M Davis was a New South Wales police officer for twenty years. Starting her career on the streets of Newtown, she went on to work as a detective and undercover operative in a variety of sections, all of which specialised in the investigation of organised crime. You can tell when you're reading SINISTER INTENT that the author knows what she's writing about very well. She also knows how to tell a yarn.
In amongst the obvious parallels between the author's career and that of the central character, Lexie Rogers, there's also a sneaking suspicion that there could be elements of this plot that are not completely fictional. If they are, then it's very believably done. Given it's also a first novel from this author, there's good execution of the plot elements, combined with a bit of fast and furious action, some romance, some psychological suspense and a lot of tension.
All the characterisations are strong, in what is basically a police procedural format with enough twists and variances to give it a refreshing feeling of difference. The strength of many of the characterisations is that overt clichés are avoided - the bikie's are not all lurking muscle-men, all brawn and no humanity. The supporting cast of cops aren't all brain dead chauvinists, although they are also real with a tendency towards hard drinking and hard working.
Interestingly, the character who is probably least sympathetically portrayed is Rogers herself. Dealing with a near death experience in the recent past and the murder of her brother, she's obviously suffering PTSD. Which seems undiagnosed, or at least unmanaged. She's not coping well with it. One is left to ponder why an author would be so hard on her. And, obviously, there's romantic tension between Rogers and her new partner which was predictable although reasonably well handled.
SINISTER INTENT is no "write what you know" novel though. It's a story about a world that the author must know very well, but there is real storytelling skill here. Which has generated a strong debut novel showing enormous potential for an ongoing series.
For eight years Lexie Rogers has been a uniform cop in Sydney’s red light district, Kings Cross. Having survived a violent knife attack, she’s witnessed far more than most cops her age. Now she’s back at work as the newest member of the Bondi Junction detectives’ office and ready to start again.
One of her first jobs is to execute a search warrant at a bikie clubhouse, one of the two local gangs in the eastern suburbs. What she uncovers begins a chilling investigation into a vicious world where loyalty is deadly and unwavering and can’t be bought . . . Or can it?
Lexie forms an unlikely alliance with one of the bikies, who’s realised his family’s in danger. But what neither of them knows is that Lexie is the one who’s in too deep. She knows too much.
And as the stakes get personal, it seems the secret bond she has with a big bad bikie could be the one thing that’ll save her life.