“If anyone’s writing better police thrillers than George, I don’t know who it is.”
One day, Marina Benedict, an actress who is trying to come to terms with the dissolution of her marriage, goes to the Clark Building in downtown Pittsburgh to turn her jewelry, gifts from her husband, into cash to cover living expenses. There in the lobby she sees an adorable baby with his mother. She’s aware of studying the baby, even flirting with him, because she longs for a child herself. A short time later, having finished her business in the jewelry shop upstairs, she catches a bus for home. She sees the same baby on the bus, this time with a man she is certain is not the child’s father. The man has nothing else with him—no diaper bag, no stroller. When Marina tries to talk to him, he avoids her. In a single life-altering act, Marina gets off the bus one stop after the man does and she follows him and the baby to an abandoned house. All she can think of is that the baby is in danger and must be saved. Nobody knows where she is.
In these same moments Pittsburgh is galvanized by the story of a kidnapping. The baby son of a rookie pitcher for the Pirates has been taken from a discount store downtown where his mother was shopping. The mother is distraught. She turned the corner for a few seconds and he child was gone.
Commander Richard Christie is orchestrating the investigation. Phone calls come in to the police station—all kinds of guesses and reports. He follows up every one of the leads. When the police meet with the FBI, baby-trafficking is only one of the theories being tossed about. And nobody takes it particularly seriously, given the high profile of the child’s father.
Christie is a kind man whose own life is in a shambles. He can’t possibly guess where the case will lead him.
—The Washington Post
[An] offbeat thriller…Taken boasts three ingredients too often missing from the suspense genre: irony, humor, and plausibly flawed, cliche-free characters.
A gripping thriller with real emotional power and remarkably subtle characterization.
Gripping…You’ll pant with every plot turn as you revel in George’s sensual, often profound prose.
A well-loved Pittsburgh doctor, Dan Ross, is shot in the parking lot of his Shadyside office one night. Commander Richard Christie investigating the crime has no witnesses and no ready theories about the perpetrator, but he promises Dan’s wife Elizabeth, a therapist, that he will solve the murder. Elizabeth roams her empty house trying to get used to the fact that she is now alone. Her grief is deep, painful. She forces herself to go back to work. She urges her children to return to school. When a man moves in next door and works hard to get to know her, Elizabeth finds it easier to hand her grief over to him than to those she knows well. The neighbor, Frank Razzi, is mysterious and puzzling. Elizabeth is drawn to him.
Frank Razzi is a screenwriter turned college professor. He spends some of his time in Pittsburgh, but the rest of it in Athens, Ohio, where he befriends Bridget, a college-age student without money or contacts.
Meanwhile Christie is piecing together the doctor’s past and a strange crime that happened when Dan Ross was a boy.
In this Hitchcockian novel, both Elizabeth and Bridget are in danger. In a way, deep down, each of them knows it
George… writes with the kind of attention to detail that’s rare in any genre. Using her stage background, she uses the interior language of her characters like a master psychologist, revealing the story in escalating layers of suspense.
Fallen startles, stings and gives fair value.
—Los Angeles Times
In the humid dog days of a Pittsburgh summer weekend, Richard Christie, Head of Homicide, faces not one, but two mysterious murders. The victims—a polite woman and an angelic child—do not seem to be connected in any obvious way. Christie is short-handed, the clues don’t stack up, and he’s got a rookie detective, Colleen Greer, to look out for. These are his problems.
Colleen has problems, too. Her boyfriend is trying to break up with her, she’s got a serious crush on her mentor, Christie, and it turns out she knew both victims slightly. Early in the investigation, she gets an alarming idea about the perpetrator’s identity, but the man she suspects has no obvious connection to the victims. She has to move carefully with nothing but a gut feeling to go on—all the while disturbed by a series of memories of her own childhood.
George leaves enough balls in the air that fans will eagerly await Christie and Greer’s next case.
George showcases her ability to craft a good mystery with an in-depth understanding of police work and attention to detail.
A gripping, gritty police procedural.
The Pittsburgh Homicide Division is upside down—Richard Christie is in the hospital, Artie Dolan is headed away on vacation, John Potocki’s life is falling apart, and Colleen Greer is so worried about her boss’s health, she can hardly think. A young boy in the North Side neighborhood dies of a suspicious overdose. The Narcotics police are working on tips and they draft Colleen and Potocki to help them. In this same neighborhood, four young kids have been abandoned and are living on their own. The Philips kids, brainy in school, are reluctant to compromise themselves. But they need cash. Connecting these people and their stories is Nick Banks, just out of prison and working off a debt to an old acquaintance involved in the drug trade. Nick is a charmer, a gentle fellow who’s had a lot of trouble in his life. One day he gives free food to the Philips kids, little guessing how connected their lives are about to become.
If anyone’s writing better police thrillers than George, I don’t know who it is.
Jack and Ryan Rutter are riding wild in their red truck one May night. Ryan is crazy with booze and crack. Jack is trying to calm Ryan when Ryan hits and kills a young mother of two on Pittsburgh’s North Side. The brothers flee north to Sugar Lake. It’s still early in the season so nobody is in the summer homes except Addie Ward, a lively woman approaching her eighty-third birthday. She wants to nurture the garden she’s already planted, to climb up and fix her roof, to paint her windowsills, to fill her freezer with the delicious foods she’s always serving or giving away.
Detective Colleen Greer is the first on the scene of the young woman’s death. She and Commander Richard Christie, along with Christie’s favorite detectives Artie Dolan and John Potocki, must trace the Rutter boys from the slimmest of leads. Nobody knows where they’ve gone. Nobody knows Jack is searching out a memory of a time when he was happy as a boy and that Ryan, perpetually unsettled, forever angry, is not finished wreaking vengeance on the world.
An expert at handling investigative details and pacing, George makes readers care about the people who are about to confront each other. The inevitable violence hurts because it matters. Told in lean, efficient prose, this is a top-notch, emotionally satisfying police procedural.
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review (read full review)
Mike Connolly is likeable, aiming to run for governor—and he wears his considerable wealth and privilege modestly. Cassie Price, a paralegal at his family’s Pittsburgh law firm, is brilliant and earnest. Though she comes from a religiously conservative family, she can’t help falling in love with Connolly. When she’s found dead in the house she just purchased, suspicion falls immediately on Cal Hathaway, the neighborhood handyman who finds her body and who, like so many others, was besotted by the lovely Cassie.
Detectives Coleson and McGranahan sew up the case with a confession from Hathaway just as Commander Christie returns to the city from vacation. He can’t sleep. The solution seems uncertain to him in spite of the physical evidence. He reopens the investigation, risking the good will of the two detectives who closed the case. Along with Colleen Greer, Artie Dolan, and John Potocki, Christie begins to try to substantiate Cal’s confession. In the process, the police unearth secrets of politics, riches, class, and race.
Determined (and sleepless) the four detectives pursue an unusual set of clues until they end up in a midnight-to-dawn chase.
—Publishers Weekly (read full review)
—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
—Booklist, Starred Review
A Measure of Blood
The major crimes commander collects his best detectives to investigate the murder of a woman, and the son she left behind. The police have just one clue—the man who killed Maggie Brown claims he was the boy’s father. But is it true? The puzzle turns out to be very complex and culminates in a race to save the boy. A Measure of Blood is brimming with page-turning action, much of it on the road, some of it set in the theater department at the University of Pittsburgh where George is a professor.
Nobody in the cast gets much sleep, and neither will the reader, till it all concludes with a happy ending stippled with the kind of sadness that rarely comes out in genre fiction.
…the story moves along rapidly…the suspense keeps building as the fate of the boy hangs in the balance.
—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (read full review)
—Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (read full review)
—Crystal Book Reviews (read full review)
—Tiffy Fit’s Reading Corner (read full review)
I read this book in two sittings, it kept me guessing from beginning to end! As any who dun it does, this book took some fantastic turns and when to a place that I couldn’t predict and loved it!