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Strange Bedfellows: A Charlotte Justice Novel (Charlotte Justice Novels)

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Paula L. Woods

In Woods's searing fourth Charlotte Justice novel (after 2003'sDirty Laundry), the troubled, hot-tempered LAPD detective looks into an attack on politically connected Chuck Zuccari, the elderly head of a successful toy company; his pregnant young wife, … see full wiki

Tags: Book
Author: Paula L. Woods
Publisher: One World/Ballantine
1 review about Strange Bedfellows: A Charlotte Justice...

Secrets Never Told

  • Aug 16, 2006
  • by
At the end of Dirty Laundry, we found Charlotte Justice embroiled in mounting issues just when she was beginning to think her life was settling down. This last case was fraught not only with hard core murder but entanglements with fellow officers who were sexually harassing her and her sister colleagues. There were also links to the gruesome murder that killed her young criminologist husband, Keith, and daughter, Erica, thirteen years prior that were beginning to surface. Now as Strange Bedfellows opens, Paula Woods spins another Los Angeles yarn with twists and turns that fling readers into the wide open L.A. highways like the Santa Ana winds.

Charlotte finds her job is on the line when a culmination of events has overwhelmed her and she is sent to "Chinatown", the psych division for L.A.P.D officers. In denial and protesting all the way, she is flat out told if she does not accept help, she can kiss her job goodbye. This is a sentence worse than death. "For who am I without my job?" Charlotte asks herself. It has just been one week since she wrapped up her last emotional case when she discovers her brother has stolen files from her home relating to Keith's cases; somehow she suspects her mother is involved. But a cold case has resurfaced and the adrenaline is running through her veins. She jumps in headlong but has she gone from the frying pan into the skillet?

Chuck Zucarri, CEO of CZ Toys, is lying in the hospital in a coma after a mysterious shooting and a young intern who worked in his financial department is found in the Central Valley in a coma after a car accident with a stash of $27,000. The plot thickens when the FBI is called in and a black agent is gung ho about dragging the Nation of Islam into the fracas. A trip to the Bay Area turns bizarre, family secrets explode and issues of race and how it plays out in love, war and death are examined. Furthermore, the events of what led to her family's death are finally revealed. Not to mention the members of the Nut House--- Charlotte's parents' home and the man she is now seeing are putting pressure on her to leave the police force. All of these factors threaten the very fabric of Charlotte's existence. Can she come out of this situation sane?

A cast of characters that include the widow of an up-and-coming African American toy manufacturer, the ex-wife and the new trophy wife of Zucari, a rogue FBI agent and a young man with a lost memory set the stage for suspense, drama and secrets. With her usual M.O., Woods gives her readers a journey and history lesson of Los Angeles' African history and culture, visual stimulating images of the city and a heroine who is far from perfect. Woods' craft is getting stronger as like Sue Grafton with her Kinsey Milhone heroine in her ABC mystery series, she gives the inner workings, the psychological set-ups and the anatomy of a murder in methodical, detailed symmetry in the world of Charlotte Justice. My childhood favorite detective was Nancy Drew but Woods' Justice is a blood and guts, real woman who has become one of my top female sleuths. I cannot wait to read the next chapter of Charlotte's adventures.

Dera R. Williams

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