Surrender, New York by Caleb Carr


28952751

Dr. Trajan Jones spent many years working for the NYPD as a criminal psychologist.  Dr. Mike Li is an expert in trace evidence and worked closely with Jones on many of the same cases.  Both were known for their outspoken opinions against the use of forensics as key evidence in a case.  Their unpopular views eventually made it necessary for them to retreat from the city.  Now the two of them spend their days using their respective expertise to teach online university courses from the comforts of Trajan’s family farm in Surrender, NY.

When the local sheriff pays Jones a visit, he has an inkling that their peaceful days of teaching are about to run into a snag.  Sure enough, the sheriff wants to elicit his opinion on the local murder of a young girl.  Her murder is part of what they have pegged as a series of murders but their investigation has gone nowhere.  Having tangled with difficulties before, Jones and Li are willing to rock the boat to see what comes out from underneath it.  What surfaces is a not just a local murder but an ongoing national crisis, one that shows us just how much the country is unraveling around its edges.

I was excited to read this release by Caleb Carr as I enjoyed the Laszlo Kreizler books a lot.  My initial excitement waned right away as the book got off to a slow start.  The main problem I had was the author’s use of incessant run-on sentences.  I don’t remember this having been a problem in his other books.  Once I got past my issue with this, my perseverance paid off in the form of gripping characterizations and edgy suspense.  Turns out I was not about to put this book down!   I really liked the crime-solving anti-hero team Mr. Carr put together here with the two docs, a smart mouth kid and the docs’ students.  Each character had their unique set of problems making them more human.  Dr. Jones relationship with Marcianna the cheetah was a great addition to his character’s emotional depth.  And imagine my joy when I found out that Trajan Jones is also the world’s leading expert on Mr. Carr’s other great fictional character, Dr. Laszlo Kreizler!  IMHO, Trajan Jones is more complicated than Laszlo Kreisler, but isn’t that true of all of us in the modern world compared to a century ago?

I want to thank the publisher (Random House Publishing) for providing me with the ARC through NetGalley for an honest review.

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