I hadn’t realised this book was the third in a series until I started reading it and my enjoyment probably suffered a little as a result as I felt like I was missing a lot of the context. The characters, however are great and – if you get the chance – I’d recommend starting at the beginning. Starting part-way through (as I’ve done) will mean you get some spoilers about earlier books, case outcomes and the characters’ exploits.
by Karen M. Davis
Series: Lexie Rogers #3
Published by Simon & Schuster AU
on July 1st 2017
Source: Simon & Schuster
Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural
Detective Lexie Rogers is tough, smart and at the top of her game. She's seen it all, from bikies, blood and betrayal to drugs, deviants and deception ... and the violent knife attack that almost killed her as a young cop on the beat.
Lexie's sent on the job of a lifetime -- to go deep undercover, as beautiful Lara Wild, a drug distributor, to expose a huge dealing ring among Sydney's most treacherous criminals. What she discovers is that being undercover is the safest place to be, especially when you're a cop with target on your head, but one false move means she'll die. And creeping from the shadows is the darkness of her past, something she can never outrun.
Lexie knows she can't trust anyone -- but the trouble is, she's not even sure if she can trust herself.
It’s always great to discover an Aussie crime fiction series and Karen M Davis – as a former police officer with 20 years of experience – obviously knows her stuff as she includes a lot of detail about police procedures and undercover work.
I’m generally not a fan of multiple plots, but by midway through we see the potential links so the work of Lexie’s boyfriend Josh, in Byron Bay tracking down marijuana growers, seemed a little more relevant. Initially I wondered why we were spending so much time with him when the plot was unfolding in Lexie’s patch in Bondi Junction.
I liked that Davis includes an array of characters and I assume readers have met them before – particularly Lexie’s usual work partner Brad and her best friend and colleague Dani. Of course there’s also Josh and the likeable Rex, her mentor and undercover boss.
I also very much appreciated that Davis makes Lexie believable and not infallible. It’s one of her first real gigs undercover and her trepidation and nerves are completely understandable. She’s slightly horrified by the background information she’s given about her targets and it’s a nice change for an author to reflect that the lives of most cops don’t involve serial killers and the worst mankind has to offer. Just the occasional baddies and their friends.
I found some of the language or dialogue of this novel to be a little rudimentary or puerile at times and I wasn’t sure if that was supposed to reflect characters’ evolution – recognising of course that Davis would better know how conversations between cops would play out. I also felt though that some of the language didn’t entirely fit with the characters… one of the lower ranked drug dealers, for example is portrayed as pretty stupid but uses ‘conceited’ and ‘consensual’ in one sentence, which jumped out at me a little. I wasn’t sure if it was the author’s voice sneaking in or if it was a clue that the character was far more savvy than we expected (and I waited for him to play a more pivotal role).
Despite the few niggling complaints I’ve offered up, I’m sure lovers of crime fiction (and police procedurals in particular) will certainly enjoy this series.
Fatal Mistake by Karen M Davis was published in Australia by Simon & Schuster and is now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.