Joanna Schaffhausen’s Long Gone is a sequel to Gone For Good, and thus the second in the Detective Annalisa Vega seres. Given the personal nature of the preceding case for the detective, it will be a rather hard matter to follow up.
There is early setup in the novel helping to show that, for turning in her dirty cop father ther police aree going ouit of their way to hurt Annalisa, arriving late or not responding to backup falls while trying to forge paperwork to take credit when she makes an arrest.
When called in to look at a murder scene, she quickly discovers that a well known headline chasing cop has been shot. She is quickly told to step away from the case by the man’s closest Associates on the force, even as she attempts to investigate it and discovers connections to a number of past incidents involving unsolved crimes and/or police brutality. As the case builds, and she finds an increasing web of lies, violence, and intimidation, Annalisa must dig deep into the grimy history of famous officers to discover the truth.
Meanwhile her personal life continues its complicated manner . Her family is on shaky ground, her former sister-in-law dating another murder suspect, and Analisa getting the feeling that everyone blames her for what has happened. The woman’s own father is under house arrest rather than having a serious sentance. While his advancing Parkinson’s is.used to somewhat justify this, it serves just as much of a reminder of the police as deeply corrupt and to one degree or another above the law.
Police corruption is a major theme of the book, including an overall depiction of the “thin blue line” as often if not always harmless. The police has a hole turn on one of their own for reporting on an officer covering up a Serial killer, even after the man has confessed. Officers undertake a campaign of harassment against the battered ex-wife of one of their own. Evidence is planted and destroyed with impunity. Ex-convicts and bystanders are brutalized. All of these things happen, and none of it feels out of character for those familiar with the police in the real world.
Many mystery series that involve the police are in no small manner copaganda. This series has illustrated the corrupt nature of the organizations that make up the police, and in the process helps to soften that a bit. At the same time it tries t, show most name officers as innocent of tgis, and through that manages to weaken it’s own point a fair deal.
Long Gone is a very nice book on its own, and a quality continuation of the series. Joanna Schaffhausen left herself in a difficult position at the end of Gone For Good, to the point that creating a series from it would seem almost strange. Here she proves that she was not only up to the task of continuing the series, but managed to handle expanding upon the themes of the original quite well. A must-read for fans of the first book, and easy to recommend for fans of crime fiction overall.
(Minotaur Books 2022