Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Death's Last Run - Robin Spano

Death's Last Run is the third installment in Robin Spano's series featuring undercover agent Clare Vengel, but is a first read of this author for me.

At twenty four years old, Clare has already worked undercover for the RCMP and is currently employed by the FBI. This time out, it's a joint case between the two agencies. Clare is sent to Whistler, BC where Sacha, the daughter of a US Senator, has committed suicide. Or has she? The Senator doesn't think so - and she has clout. So, it's Clare's job to infiltrate the local scene.

And infiltrate she does - Clare ends up with Sacha's roommate, her job and one of lovers. And more. Told by her handlers to not sample the local drugs, Clare goes right ahead.

This was my first introduction to this conflicted character. On the one hand, she wants to do a good job, but consistently bucks her superiors, taking risks that endanger both herself and the case. She desperately wants a secure relationship with her boyfriend Noah, but has no problem sleeping with suspects and calling it work. To be honest,  I'm not sure if I like her or not. But you don't have to like a protagonist to keep turning pages. And that I did.

Spano has done a great job bringing the underculture of Whistler to life and has populated her novel with colourful characters. Spano effectively switches points of view, telling the story through the eyes of the cop, the undercover agent and the suspects.  The plotting is inventive and multi-layered with lots of suspects to choose from. I did find it a bit hard to believe that the policing in Whistler - " Canada's most expensive playground" is so lackadaisical.

Spano has opened the door for Clare to go international - I'll be interested to see where she goes and who she becomes next. And what direction  Clare's personal life takes as well.

Heads up for gentle readers - sex and drug use included. Read an excerpt of Death's Last Run. You can find Robin Spano on Twitter.

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