Disgraced police detective Karen Seagate is drinking herself to death when the new Chief gives her a chance. A local politician has been murdered and the Chief puts Seagate and her old partner, Ryan Miner on the case. The Chief is big on following procedures and Seagate breaks the rules more often than she follows them. Still, will these Deviations be the ones that kill her? More
Since losing her job as a police detective, Karen Seagate has done little but drink and have casual (and unsatisfactory) sex with strangers. Even the other losers at the A.A. meeting look at Seagate with annoyance and frustration. When the new police chief insists that Seagate come down to the station for a formal exit interview, she figures she's in more trouble... but can't see how her life can get much worse. The new chief might not be as incompetent as the old one, but he does everything by the book and one thing Seagate isn't is a by the books cop.
The murder of a state senator changes everything. Seagate knew the senator, had investigated her in fact. And the chief thinks that Seagate has the makings of a good detective... if she can stop feeling sorry for herself and give up drinking. Seagate is paired with her old partner, Ryan Miner, and told to solve the case. Only there's a problem. The murder might be a political assassination and the FBI is involved... and the FBI always plays its own games, with the preferences of a couple of local cops not mattering much. Seagate and Miner start digging into the crime but sometimes it seems that the chief and FBI are getting in the way more than they're actually helping. For Seagate, getting to the bottom of this murder becomes more than just another case. She's sure that, once the case is over, she'll be canned... she just can't stay inside the lines the way the chief demands. Still, solving the case consumes her. She won't let anything, whether it's the local patriot movement, the FBI, the chief's demands, or even Miner's well-reasoned concerns get in her way.
Author Mike Markel continues the series he began in BIG SICK HEART with a strong and emotionally compelling story of a woman's struggle with her personal demons... and with the demons of large society. Seagate's obsession with finding the killer leads her to take risks that no rational person would allow, that are, as the chief puts it, Deviations. Markel's strong writing makes us care about this troubled woman and her struggles to find herself.