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CITIZEN K-9 by David Rosenfelt: Book Review

The K-9 Team is definitely an interesting group of investigators.  There’s Corey Douglas, a former sergeant with the Paterson, New Jersey police force; Laurie Collins, also a former cop; and Marcus, an enforcer with no last name given or needed.  And, of course, there’s Simon, Corey’s canine partner when they were both on the force, last name Garfunkel.

The Paterson Police Department, like most others in the country, has an overload of current cases to deal with, but because detectives never want to ignore a case that wasn’t solved no matter how long ago the crime was committed, it has recently established a cold case division.

Pete Stanton, the captain in charge of the department’s homicide division, explains to Corey, Laurie, and Marcus that although money is tight, there is money available from a different part of the budget to hire the K-9 group.  Pete offers them a choice of four cases to investigate, and they decide to investigate the seven-year-old disappearance of two people attending the fifteen-year reunion of the city’s high school.

From all accounts, Chris Vogel and Kim Baskin barely knew each other in high school.  The two left the reunion together, which their friends thought was strange looking back at it, but at the time no one commented on it.  Chris’ car was found on a highway near the school, Kim’s was still parked at the school, and neither of them was seen again nor were their bodies ever found.  The only clue, if that’s what it is, is a playing card, the king of clubs, found in Chris’ abandoned automobile.  However, that led nowhere in the original investigation.

Nevertheless, the team decides to begin their focus with Chris.  His two closest, and perhaps only, friends still live in the area.  Corey first visits Bruce Sharperson, now a professor of psychology at Rutgers University.  His field is predictive theory, which he explains to Corey as an attempt to forecast what will happen in a particular case based on past events.

Sharperson tells Corey that he and a third teenager, Harold Collison, were friends with Chris in high school but afterwards parted ways.  Sharperson says that Chris was developing some habits, including using drugs and possibly gambling, that made him uncomfortable, and Collison, in a later interview with Corey, agrees.  They both stress that although all three of them were academic “nerds,” Chris was absolutely the brightest one.

As the investigation uncovers additional information about Chris’ gambling and drug use, the K-9 team becomes even more certain that he is the reason for the disappearances.  They discover that he owed approximately twenty thousand dollars to a local bookie and had been selling drugs as well as using them.  But then, why involve Kim?  It would seem to have been easier to abduct Chris, either at his home or his place of work, and deal with him in whatever manner the kidnappers wanted.

The team’s human members are likeable and believable, and the plot moves along swiftly.  They are putting their hearts and souls into discovering the truth about this cold case, doing their best to solve a crime that has stymied the Paterson police for years.

David Rosenfelt has written thirty-three novels and three television movies.  In addition, he and his wife started The Tara Foundation, which saves dogs from euthanasia.  In the fourteen years since its founding, The Foundation has saved over 4,000 dogs.

You can read more about David Rosenfelt at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.

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