Sometimes a novel can be fairly ordinary in itself, but will reveal intriguing possibilities. That was my reaction to Lines of Duty, by Mark Hazard, first installment in the Deputy Corus series.
“Corus” is the only name of the main character; he has no first name (This is the second book I’ve read recently with a one-name character. Can you even do that in the modern world?). His personal background is mysterious, but the book begins with his last day on Special Forces duty in Afghanistan. He is a brave and decorated soldier. Shortly after his return to the States, he and his wife establish themselves in Seattle, where he has enrolled in a special, elite police training program.
Corus is the best shot in his class. Another classmate, Albert Chu, is the best academically. They fall into an odd, symbiotic friendship as they deal with the considerable pressures of the program. One day, while they are doing grunt work with unclaimed evidence, Corus discovers some diamonds that were never reclaimed by their owner. That, along with other strange points about the evidence, leads him and Chu to poke into the old case. This will have them investigating rodeo people, drug dealers, and an eccentric old lady with an amazing heart.
The author, Mark Hazard, is – judging by this book – good at characterization, but middling on dialogue. His characters sometimes talk like books. But I still liked the characters, and there’s an attitude of positivity here that I can’t help liking. I’m reading the second book now.
Mild cautions for language and violence.