Two or three weeks ago, I was contacted by Oceanview Publishing, who kindly asked if I would like to receive a copy of Kind of Blue, a debut novel by Miles Corwin. The novel looked interesting, as I like police procedurals and in this case the author had previously written three non-fiction books, two of which are about the Los Angeles police department, so presumably knows his onions. I accepted the offer, and have just finished, and enjoyed, the book. I was about to write a review when I see that the publication date is not until 1 November. Instead of a review, therefore, I'll provide an excerpt here, and post a review when the book is actually out.
The novel is about the LAPD, in particular a case that is given to Ash Levine, a detective who quit the force a year earlier. Ash is persuaded to return to work to investigate the death of a retired cop, Pete Relovich. Near the start of the novel, Ash visits the victim's home for the first time:
"Relovich lived near the end of a cul-de-sac, in a ramshackle pale blue clapboard bungalow with peeling paint and a sagging roof. When I was a kid, this had been a working-class neighborhood, populated mostly by Croatian fishermen. But now, homes with a view of the water were at a premium in Los Angeles and property values had soared. Most of the fisherman had sold to investors, who viewed the modest homes as teardowns, replacing them with mammoth two- and three-storey monstrosities, spanning lot line to lot line. Relovich's house, which was encircled by yellow crime-scene tapes, was flanked by two gray and white clipboard Cape Cod-style McMansions that could sell for more than a million dollars.
I pulled out a pair of latex gloves, a few small Baggies, and a flashlight from a wooden box in Duffy's trunk, stuffed them in my pocket, and walked to Relovich's front porch, which faced the harbor. Lingering for a moment, I looked out at the inky black water laced with streaks of silver from the three-quarter moon. Lights atop the graceful span of the Vincent Thomas Bridge, which connected San Pedro to Terminal Island, twinkled in the distance. An offshore wind, brisker here than in the central city, blew off the water, carrying the smell of seaweed, brine, and a hint of diesel fuel.
Duffy opened the front door and flipped on the lights. I followed him inside. The house had an air of dereliction. In the living room, newspapers, unopened mail, fast-food wrappers, and empty Dr. Pepper cans were strewn on the nicked hardwood floor. Fingerprint powder streaked the wooden arms of the sofa, the chipped coffee table in front, two chairs beside a picture window, and every other smooth surface. I took a deep breath and nodded. After a year of disorientation, I finally felt at home again. Yes, this is what I've missed. Homicide. "