The Awkward Squad

MacLehose: Quercus. Apr. 2018. 320p. tr. from French by Sam Gordon. ISBN 9781681440033. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781681440019. M
This debut mystery opens with disgraced Paris police officer Anne Capestan getting her badge back after a six-month suspension for the use of brutal force. Instead of being fired, she has been assigned to head up a new brigade of misfit cops—other officers rejected from their respective areas—to probe cold cases that no one expects them to solve. Capestan approaches this plan optimistically and tries to keep her group of disparate officers productive. The brigade combs through the many cold case files and they find two to investigate. Quickly they discover that the cases involving the murders of old woman and a sailor are linked, and that some malfeasance among their superiors might be afoot. Hénaff deftly builds her characters, and readers will enjoy watching friendships and trust grow in the squad.
VERDICT Readers who appreciate quirky and interesting characters with their mysteries will find much to savor in this series launch, which is as much about a crew of police rejects as the crimes they investigate.

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