The third in the Rocky Bluff police procedural series focuses on Cal Sylvester, rookie Gordon Butler, and Abel Navarro.
Cal is a cop who’s only in it for what he can get. Currently Cal’s partnered with the idealistic neophyte Gordon and Abel’s wonders why he hasn’t been promoted yet.
An affair, a serial rapist, a teen runaway, habitual DUI offenders and murder are the highlighted goings on in Rocky Bluff this time out.
The main police characters in Fringe Benefits are Abel Navarro, Cal Sylvester, and Gordon Butler.
Cal and Darcy, Gordon’s wife, begin an affair that leads Cal to plot the murder of his wife, Lee Ann. Cal is the epitome of the kind of cop everyone dislikes. He gets off on the power he feels the uniform gives him over others and what benefits he gains from his position. The only decent thing about Cal is that he truly loves his daughters. Will Cal pull off the perfect murder?
Poor Abel keeps having his DUI cases thrown out by the D.A. and every single officer who came in with him has advanced. Why hasn’t he moved up in the ranks yet? Abel is finally vindicated but at what cost?
Gordon is that sweet clueless guy. The one who marries the grasping, greedy, bitch who walks all over him and then discards him when something better comes along. While I’d love for Gordon to keep his kindness, caring and concern for others intact I’d really appreciate his growing up a bit; that level of innocence, unless it’s a child, gets annoying.
We meet a serial rapist and a runaway from a well to do influential family, both of whom figure prominently in Cal’s machinations. The runaway definitely touched me.
I felt a common thread running through the inter-woven lives of the characters: Karma and being careful what you wish for.
We meet up with the some of the main characters from Final Respects but it’s more of an “in passing” where we see the final results of events and decisions made at the end of Final Respects. I was disappointed that their present situations were presented as a fait accompli without seeing how they got there. I was shown the beginning and the end when I had really been looking forward to the middle, that’s where all the good stuff is.
Fringe Benefits reads darker than Final Respects but that’s not a complaint. I enjoyed the poetic justice aspect of the book as a whole.
Fringe Benefits really needed another going over by a proofreader. While I don’t base any of my rating on this I do give a heads up because it’s a huge pet peeve of many readers.
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