Introducing Birmingham Detective Sergeant Kate Power, exiled from London's Metropolitan Police by personal tragedy and making a new start in the distant outpost of Birmingham CID. Her new Brummie bosses are good men, for the most part, but they can't seem to let their new female colleague alone long enough to get on with her job. Kate is anxious to lose herself in her work, and before too long a case comes along that will consume her in a way she could never have imagined.
Young boys are being abducted, abused, and murdered on her patch, and she feels intense personal and professional pressure to catch those responsible. Kate must navigate the unfamiliar channels of power in male-dominated Birmingham; are her colleagues being deliberately obstructive or simply dragging their feet? Soon she is forced to make an important decision: Should she follow the conventional line of enquiry, toe the company line, and work as part of the team, or should she strike out on her own, reputation be damned?
Kate's got her work cut out for her, but she's a tough young cop who's seen a lot in her brief career and no one, not a heavy-handed supervisor or a vicious killer, is going to stop her from surviving, and thriving, in Birmingham. Power on Her Own is a taut, gritty cop novel from talented crime writer Judith Cutler.
In her enjoyable U.S. debut, British author Cutler introduces a very human heroine, Det. Sergeant Kate Power, who's also a highly skilled professional. A personal tragedy has led to Power's transfer from London to Birmingham, where her new colleagues' misogynistic hazing undercut her efforts, as the only female detective on staff, to make a good start. Battling incipient alcoholism and survivor's guilt, she must compartmentalize her own problems to focus on tracking down a child molester who soon crosses the line from sexual abuse to murder. With a hospitalized aunt the only person she can trust, Power at once befriends and suspects a variety of locals, including her supervisor, a neighbor and the local minister. More than one potential suitor complicates already complex relationships, while such off-duty pursuits as coaching a boys' soccer team offer no refuge from the grim crimes she's responsible for solving. The book succeeds more as a character study than as a police procedural, since Power stumbles on a major clue completely by chance, and random events rather than clever investigation reveal some key aspects of the mystery. If there is a sequel, Cutler should let Power rely more on her own deductive powers.