Heart of the City is the fifth entry in Robert Rotenberg's Homicide Detective Ari Greene series.
Greene is no longer a detective, having left the force after the events of the last book. Personally, he's learning how to be a father to Alison, the daughter he never knew he had. Professionally he's taken a job as a construction worker. But death still seems to find Greene. Controversial developer Livingstone Fox is found dead on his much contested latest project. And it just happens to be the site Ari is working on - and he finds the body. Old instincts die hard and Greene finds himself drawn into the case - just not as a Homicide Detective this time. And what he doesn't yet know is that his personal life is going to play a big part in this case.
I've always enjoyed Ari Greene as a lead character. He's smart, intuitive, dogged - and human. He makes mistakes, but it only has made him more realistic. His personal storyline is just as engaging as the main plots. I've always enjoyed his father's scenes. I imagine that Alison will be found in future books, but I'm still not sure how I feel about her. We'll see how she develops from here. Greens' former protege Daniel Kennicott has moved up in the department with Greene's leaving. This makes for a very different dynamic this time 'round. I am torn on Kennicott - I'm not as firmly in his camp - he makes quicker decisions and acts too rashly at times. But, on the other hand, this works well for plotting.
Rotenberg has taken inspiration for this latest novel from current news. The development in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) is seemingly never ending and always controversial. Fox's developments are pretty much the truth. What I do like - and without revealing anything pertinent - is the proposed alteration to that growth.
I just love the Canadian setting - the descriptions of streets, stores and neighbourhoods that I recognize and have visited. It really brings the novel to life. Rotenberg himself is a criminal lawyer in Toronto and has based his series in the same city.
As for the whodunit, there are many available suspects and Rotenberg keeps us guessing until the end. I'm not sure I completely bought the final resolution (the killer's motivation was a bit of a stretch for me) but I really enjoyed the journey there. I'll be looking for the next entry in this series. Read an excerpt of Heart of the City.
You can connect with Robert Rotenberg on his website, like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.