PUBLICATION DATE: SEPTEMBER 1, 2012
dam Polanski is hated within the Chicago Police Department. His decision to report the unethical behavior of two fellow officers has left him labeled a traitor who no one wants to work with. Frank Campello is returning to work at the 28th following the death of his long-time partner, who died in the line of duty. Since Frank is without a partner and is a favorite among the officers, when Adam is transferred to the 28th, the two are forced to work together. The ever straight-forward and outspoken Frank, wastes little time isolating Adam and expressing his extreme displeasure at the arrangement. However, when a young, illegal woman is found murdered, they must set their differences aside to work on the case. With an uneasy alliance, the two soon discover the murder might be linked to Peter Green, the son of power alderman, Aaron Green. As Adam and Frank dig deeper, they begin to uncover a conspiracy that’s much larger than murder and instead is rooted in the city’s long history of mafia and political corruption. With a fairly complex mystery, The Sons of Jude is an entertaining read even if it’s not particularly original.
It’s been over three years since I’ve read a novel by Brandt Dodson and I’ve missed his writing. I’m a big fan of his Colton Parker series, loving the feel and mystery of each novel. I was excited to see that Dodson had a new series coming out and happily dove right into The Sons of Jude.
For the most part I’m pleased with the start of this new series, but I do wonder if maybe it was written earlier in Dodson’s career, but just now seeing publication. While this book features a police detective rather than a private detective, it has a much different feel. It has a rough feeling, that doesn’t seem to be completely by choice. It lacks the polish found in some of Dodson’s previous novels. Perhaps this is just reflective of a new series and a new group of characters, but given that a couple of times dated terminology is used, I do wonder if this book was written several years ago.
The early part of The Sons of Jude is a little frustrating. Frank and I did not exactly hit it off. In fact, even as the book ended, I was still only lukewarm towards him. I’m all for no nonsense, get the job done detectives, but he was willing to stretch acceptable behavior a lot further than I am. Flawed characters are great, but Frank stood in too stark of a contrast to Adam. Since I don’t care for squeaky clean characters either, Adam was nicely balanced. I loved his character and am a bit disappointed that the book focused more on Frank.
While there are some Christian elements to this book, unfortunately they’re not as well integrated as I’d like. Since Adam is about the only Christian character in the book, most of the spiritual dialog comes from him. However, his role while major is rather minor in terms of page count. The result is a book that has Christian elements, but they’re bunched together and not really developed. This is a different approach than is found in Dodson’s earlier novels.
The Sons of Jude is a fairly complex novel, with several layers of corruption. While many of the players are explicitly given to the reader, quite a few remain a mystery. It’s not until the climax that the reader learns where everyone stands. I must admit, I was somewhat surprised to discover that some characters were on a different side of the law.
While this book isn’t quite as strong as some of Dodson’s earlier work, I still enjoyed it. The mystery is very satisfying, the writing gritty, and the ending is left open enough to test the reader’s patience. I look forward to reading the next book in this series, Chicago King.