In another stand-alone novel, departing once again from his Frank Pavlicek detective/falconer books, Andy Straka has produced Record of Wrongs, and it’s quite good.
Quentin Price is a black man, convicted of raping and murdering a young white woman. After ten years, DNA evidence sets him free. The day he leaves prison, he’s surprised to find someone waiting to give him a ride home – it’s the mother of his supposed victim.
She’s an alcoholic and her life is generally in disorder, but she has the idea that Quentin might want the same thing that’s holding her together – to identify the real killer, and set all the questions to rest.
At first Quentin doesn’t want to get involved. He just wants to rebuild his life. But the girl’s father, who was a cop and is now a private investigator, does not believe in Quentin’s exoneration. He’s determined to prove Quentin guilty, and he’s willing to go outside the law to do it. Quentin will have to look for answers just to save his own life and freedom. Maybe the special investigator sent by the state attorney general can help too – if he believes in Quentin’s innocence.
And there’s one other thing. Quentin has a secret. He hasn’t told anyone what really happened the night the girl died.
Record of Wrongs is a well-conceived and executed mystery. It’s not in the top rank, but Andy Straka is learning his craft. Christian readers will be disappointed to note that the Christian elements he usually includes are soft-pedaled (though not entirely left out) in this story, and that Straka has decided to include a little profanity for verisimilitude (something he hasn’t done before).
Recommended. I’ll keep watching Straka. He seems to be a writer with a future.