Night Laws
Jim Michael Hansen
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Buy *Night Laws* by Jim Michael Hansen online

Night Laws
Jim Michael Hansen
Dark Sky Publishing
382 pages
January 2006
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Click here to read reviewer Brenda A. Snodgrass's take on Night Laws.

Night Laws is a gritty, breathtaking novel of suspense introducing a new cop to be reckoned with, Bryson Coventry.

Kelly Parks has been warned that she is next on the list of a brutal killer. Something she has done in the past for the legal firm she works for makes her think she is more involved than even Bryson Coventry, who is investigating the killing, believes.

Parks is careful to keep her secret from Coventry and find out for herself what it really was she was involved in, yet Coventry knows all is not as it seems. They circle each other, sexual tension pulsing, trying to find out just what is going on, who is killing young women in a most brutal fashion, and how it is connected with Parks.

This is the first book in the “Laws” series featuring Bryson Coventry, and it makes for a great introduction. Coventry has some facets of the typical crime-story cop – he loves coffee, he can sniff out clues with alacrity, and he works long hours to get his man.

Yet there is a softness to Coventry which takes him just that bit out of the box. He is not so hard-nosed yet that he has lost his belief in the system. I wonder if this might happen in later books.

Night Laws is quite convoluted in its storyline and could have been hard to follow, but Hansen writes well and defines his characters clearly. There is plenty of action, always something happening that you need to pay attention to.

Two storylines running through the novel, one woman murdered and another woman missing both linked to events in the past which are mysteries in themselves. The reader will wonder if and why this murder and disappearance are connected, and the way Hansen brings them together is both shocking and industrious.

Weird clues keep coming up in strange places like the legal office Parks works at, and Coventry certainly has a tough time putting all the pieces together. So will the reader, which makes this book all the more satisfying.

The story is told so as to give the reader an insight not only into Coventry’s mind but also the killer’s, which provides a stark contrast. It becomes necessary to the story to follow the killer’s sick, twisted thinking. It might seem extreme for some, but it rings true and is truly gruesome.

I had a few minor problems with this book. Coventry’s reaction to one character, the biker woman, later in the book is somewhat baffling as her actions seem to call for some sort of reprimand or at least questioning. It seems out of character for Coventry to treat her with kid gloves. Also, the novel is a bit slow in parts and starts off with not quite the bang you expect. But this is a first novel, and a few small problems that really do not affect the overall enjoyment of the book are allowed.

There is much more I do like, including the character of Coventry himself. I also especially like his partner, Shalifa Netherwood, who keeps Coventry sane while being a pretty good detective herself. The female FBI agent is good, too - likeable, clever and someone Coventry is not afraid to ask for help. Hansen has given great thought to his supporting cast, and it shows.

Overall this is a thrilling debut, and I certainly will seek out the other books in the Laws series and follow the adventures of Coventry and his co-stars.

One thing I would like to tell Hansen, though others have probably already beaten me to it, is that the band who performed the song ‘Relax’ was named ‘Frankie Goes to Hollywood’ and not ‘Frankie Does Hollywood’. Though I was surprised by this mistake, the reference is a small piece of genius, revealing Coventry to be a lot more cool and quirky then most cops.

The books in Hansen’s “Laws” series in order are Night Laws, Shadow Laws, Fatal Laws and Deadly Laws, with more to follow. The author is a Colorado attorney who continues to practice law in the Denver metropolitan area, representing a variety of clients in civil matters with an emphasis on civil litigation, employment law and OSHA.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Kellie Warner, 2008

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