Thursday, May 4, 2017

“The Thing Speaks for Itself” by A.S.A. Durphy

You have never quite met a cop or security person quite like Gracie Stratis.

As a rookie officer in the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, she is learning from her boss and mentor, Charles Davis. They are checking out a Russian in the Los Angeles area who’s believed to be stealing U.S. passports. The surveillance goes badly; the Russian turns out to be a bit more difficult than expected. Gracie and Charles both end up injured.

On the next assignment, protecting the sister of a Mexican government official who’s in Los Angeles, things get worse. Charles is killed, and Gracie takes four bullets which put her in the hospital. To recover, her brother Russel takes her to his apartment in Oakland.

But trouble seems to stick to Gracie like glue. A close friend of both Gracie and Russel asks to speak to Gracie about something he’s uncovered on a new property development involving the mayor’s office. And then the friend disappears.

The Thing Speaks for Itself is A.S.A. Durphy’s first Gracie Stratis detective novel, and it would be easier to list the pages where you don’t find action-packed scenes. This is a book that vibrates with tension, suspense, and action, each episode leaving the reader to wonder what Gracie is going to get herself involved in next. Fortunately, you don’t have long to wait.

A.S.A. Murphy
One result of Gracie’s being shot and her boss’s death is that she begins to suffer from a kind of post-traumatic stress disorder. It manifests itself in seeing smoke where there’s no fire. And then seeing a dragon, and the appearance of a much-younger version of her dead father.

Durphy is an Oakland-based writer, and he clearly knows the jogging terrain of the Oakland Hills. He’s also the author of a Gracie Stratis novella, A Wolf by the Ears (an appropriate title for a Gracie Stratis story).

You’ve never met a detective quite like Gracie – tough, fearless, loyal to her family and friends, always prepared to fight the long odds (and crowds of villains) arrayed against her. Read The Thing Speaks for Itself to meet her and find a good story. You’ll be glad you did.

Photograph: View from the Oakland Hills, via Wikimedia Commons.

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