Title: Silent City by Carrie Smith
Claire Codella Mystery Series Book One
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 306 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publicist
NYPD Detective Claire Codella has just won a tough battle with cancer. Now she has to regain her rightful place on the force. she hasn’t even been back a day when Hector Sanchez, a maverick public school principal, is found murdered. The school is on high alert. The media is howling for answers. And Codella catches the high-profile case at the worst possible time.
As she races to track down the killer, she uncovers dirty politics, questionable contracts, and dark secrets. Each discovery she makes brings her closer to the truth, but the truth may cost Codella her life.
Silent City, Carrie Smith’s explosive debut, will introduce readers to a brilliant new voice in crime fiction that will grab them and not let go until the very last page and a fearless heroine who they will enjoy for years to come.
Fans of police procedurals do not want to miss Carrie Smith’s Silent City, the first installment in the Claire Codella Mystery series. With a well-drawn cast of characters and an impossible to solve murder, this well-written and intriguing mystery provides readers a fascinating behind the scenes look at educational infighting and politics when new principal Hector Sanchez is murdered.
Claire Codella’s first case when she returns to work following her intensive and aggressive treatment for cancer is an unexpected high profile murder investigation into Hector’s murder. Paired up with newly promoted Eduardo Munoz, both detectives have a lot to prove to their co-workers and they, along with Codella’s former partner, Brian Haggerty, follow numerous leads in their search for Sanchez’s killer. The staging of his body makes it appear that his murder is connected to his job as principal at PS 777 and the three investigators quickly learn there are many suspects who had motive to kill him.
Codella is an intelligent detective whose new boss is not exactly her biggest fan. Despite his attempts to undermine her authority, she has managed to pull together an excellent team of investigators. Codella has a precise way of doing things and she follows the evidence instead of hunches. She is clever and resourceful and although she is still just getting back in the swing of things, Codella relentlessly pursues any and all leads in the case.
Munoz and Haggerty are also excellent investigators, but most importantly, they are loyal to Codella. Munoz is also new to the squad and unfortunately, he is enduring some malicious harassment from one of his fellow detectives. Haggerty was Codella’s partner for seven years and right before her cancer diagnosis, she transferred out of their squad following an unpleasant altercation with him. He is hoping this case will heal the rift between them and although things are tense at first, they quickly put aside any residual animosity and concentrate on the case.
Codella is a little surprised to discover that Sanchez was not as beloved as everyone has been lead to believe. Many of the staff at PS 777 disliked him due to his impossibly high standards, unfair performance assessments and bullying tactics toward staff members. Sanchez also recently clashed with Superintendent Margery Barton over the proposed implementation of a software program to help individualize student learning. Secrets and lies often hinder the investigation but Codella skillfully ferrets out the truth and doggedly pursues the clues where they lead.
Silent City is a compelling mystery with an engaging storyline and appealing characters. With plenty of suspects, no clear cut motive for the crime and stunning plot twists, Carrie Smith skillfully conceals the killer’s identity until the novel’s astonishing conclusion. It is an excellent beginning to the Claire Codella Mystery series that I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend to fans of the genre.