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–This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays. –Douglas Adams

This week my guest is Danielle Lenee Davis, author of the police procedural mystery, The Protector **

(**For a chance at this week’s prize, a signed copy of The Protector, please play Lie-dar by leaving a comment with your guess about which is her truth)

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Danielle likes reading and writing mysteries. She especially enjoys reading suspense with strong, intelligent, female protagonists who have lots of personality and attitude. Danielle reads a lot and thinks eReaders are the best invention ever!  During the day she can be found writing code for financial applications used within the education sector.  Danielle is a chocaholic.  Chocolate any time—anywhere. She needs help. And maybe an intervention.

Danielle likes reading and writing mysteries. She especially enjoys reading suspense with strong, intelligent, female protagonists who have lots of personality and attitude. Danielle reads a lot and thinks eReaders are the best invention ever! During the day she can be found writing code for financial applications used within the education sector. Danielle is a chocaholic. Chocolate any time—anywhere. She needs help. And maybe an intervention.

REVIEW:

If I like a hard-boiled, tough-mouthed, cynical police detective with relationship issues just because she’s female, does that make me sexist? I’ve never really warmed up to police procedural mysteries with their Dragnet-style protagonists and one-dimensional characters. But there’s something about Detective Sydney Valentine that pulls you into her world and won’t let you go.

Sydney thinks her life is just fine. She gets cases, argues with her partner Bernie, solves them, and goes running with her fraternal—and polar opposite—twin sister. A personal life that includes dating, relationships, or a family of her own doesn’t interest her nearly as much as the cases she takes on. That’s until her latest case becomes personal. Her past, her family, and her job are all tied into the murder of a Child Protective Services social worker, and then a juvenile court judge. Her investigation leads to the man responsible for the long-ago rape and subsequent suicide of her best friend. A string of assaults leaves Sydney, her sister, and her partner injured, and Sydney realizes that her family and friends, as well as the community she protects, will be in danger until she identifies the murderer.

Author Danielle Lenee Davis takes the straight-talking-and-shooting police detective stereotypes and makes them her own. Her cops like donuts, but also vegetarian restaurants. They catch bad guys, but also the little suspects who’ve ‘murdered’ their grandmother’s doll collection. They fail at their own romantic relationships but try to fix each other’s. Above all, they’re human and they make mistakes. They miss clues, miss connections, and miss the bad guys. Some crimes are never solved, and some are solved… outside of usual police procedures, let’s say. And most of all, there is Sydney herself. Although she vaguely thinks dating might be a good idea, she’s pretty concerned that the process has a basic flaw—it involves people.

“You always think the worst of people.”

“Mac, the worst is usually the most honest part of them. I see it on the job all the time.”

Sydney’s dry, cynical, and slightly-confused-by-all-that-emotion-stuff voice is deadpan hilarious. She describes a date’s handshake as:

He held out his hand. I’ve been eating mostly vegetarian for years; however, I do enjoy the occasional grilled fish. His hand reminded me of something that hadn’t hit the grill yet.”

There are a few details in the book that didn’t add up for me. Weeks of time would go by in which not much happens on the case, but Sydney doesn’t seem to be working other cases either. There are a few subplots that are never resolved, such as Sydney’s partner Bernie’s evasive behavior and his relationship with the girlfriend Sydney had introduced him to, or the red-herring clues that were never explained. But for me those issues are minor and don’t spoil this wonderful debut novel. I give The Protector four stars and recommend it for anyone who likes mysteries with strong, quirky heroines with a weakness for cowgirl boots. I can’t wait to read more of Sydney’s adventures.

**I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

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The Protector.

 When the body of a social worker is found on the stairway inside the building where she works, a mouthful of Scrabble letters tells Detective Valentine that this is not a random killing.

And it’s not.

A brutal killer with a sinister connection to Child Protective Services is prowling the streets in Detective Sydney Valentine’s jurisdiction. More letters are needed to piece together the puzzle, but that means more people will die.

A dead juvenile court judge, a single mother – the body count climbs.

Detective Valentine becomes a target and the stakes rise. Her sister is attacked and Valentine realizes she needs to step it up before it’s too late. Her courage and investigative skills are put to the test. She must protect her family and take down the killer before any more people die. 

A fast-paced novel of mystery and suspense, The Protector will grip you from the very beginning, so hold on tight and leap into the dangerous world of Detective Sydney Valentine. She’s a sassy, contemporary cop with an edge and an attitude. Tough and potty-mouthed, she’s going to see justice served—no matter what.

Sydney Valentine is the friend you wish you had. She’s the cop you’d be wise to fear if you’re walking on the wrong side of the law.

To buy The Protector:

To contact Danielle, click on links below:

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 LIE-DAR CONTEST!

I asked Danielle where she would go for her dream vacation. Which is her correct answer?

  1. Hawaii—for several weeks
  2. Stay at home—and make everyone else leave
  3. Artisan cheese-making course in the south of France

Please add your guess to your comment below, and you will be entered to win a signed copy of Danielle Lenee Davis’ new police procedural mystery, The Protector. Winner will be announced next Thursday, June 26. (***UPDATE from Barb—I forgot to mention that for those outside of the US, you can have your choice of a $20 Gift Card or an ebook version of The Protector.)

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Last week I challenged readers to spot my lie. Congratulations to Kassandra Lamb,the winner of the $20 Gift Card (as chosen by RandomPicker)

As many of you guessed, I did not spend two full weeks in the Luxembourg airport. Just after finishing college, I strapped on a backpack and heading for the obligatory European tour. It was peak tourist season, and when transportation strikes made it impossible to get to the airport for my return flight, I was put on the standby list. Days went by, and the crowd of stranded Americans waiting for standby flights swelled. Each morning, we’d pool our (little) remaining money and send someone into town to bring back wine and bread. Airport officials, alarmed by the rapidly increasing decibel levels (and rapidly decreasing clean clothes), announced on day ten that they had chartered a KLM flight and would give us free champagne if we would please just leave their airport. Best flight of my life.

***Would you like to be a guest on Thursday Lie-dar? I’d love to feature you and your work here! (interview, contest, book review, guest post) For information, send email to barbtaub@gmail.com***

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