Review: The Girl Next Door by Brad Parks

March 12, 2012 Crime Fiction, Minotaur Books, Mystery/Suspense, Review 5

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (March 13, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 031266768X
  • Source: Author

As Carter Ross is reading the obituaries (“some of the happiest news we print”) he comes across the entry for Nancy Marino, just 42 years old.  As Carter scans the rest of the entry, he sees that Nancy was a carrier for the Eagle-Examiner, the very paper he writes for as an investigative reporter.  Wanting to do a special piece for one of their own, Carter attends Nancy’s wake. After speaking with her family members, Carter learns that Nancy’s death, a hit-and-run, may not have been an accident.

Further investigation indicates that Ms. Marino was involved in a heated union battle with the newspaper. Could the head of the Eagle-Examiner be responsible for Nancy’s death? Carter Ross becomes obsessed with seeking resolution for Nancy’s family, even if that means putting his job, and life, at risk.

Fans of this series will be thrilled to see Carter Ross back in action. An investigative reporter, he always seems to get involved in some pretty dangerous assignments. His witty humor and me laughing out loud. The relationship with his editor, Tina Thompson, is just as steamy and full of sexual tension as before. In this book, however, things are taken to a completely different level (not that level, much to the dismay of Carter Ross).

One of the perks to Parks’ books are his secondary characters. Carter Ross always has the most…interesting entourage of individuals surrounding him. I was happy to see many of the characters from the previous books return (i.e. Tommy, the gay Cuban intern) as well as the introduction of some new “side kicks,” including Lunky, the intern better suited as Literature professor than a newspaper reporter.  One particular scene in which Lunky admitted to reading The DaVinci Code and liking it had me in stitches.

Parks’ talent is his ability to add just enough humor to his mysteries to get the reader laughing, but not so much that you are distracted from the solving of the case. As with the previous two books, Parks inserts the perfect dose of social commentary. This is where his skill at breaking up the serious bits with humor comes into play. His timing in his humor was perfect: just as Carter started getting too serious, Parks’ would insert some bit of humor to return him to the status of a cute and witty investigative reporter.

While this is the third book in a series, I believe readers can pick up any book along the way and be able to become quickly immersed in the series.  All in all, Parks books are ones that I have quickly grown to adore and will continue to look forward to each and every one. Highly recommended.



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