Credo’s Hope is the first installment in a new mystery series by Alison Naomi Holt that features the hotheaded Tucson detective Alex Wolfe. When her best friend, Megan, convinces Alex to look into a closed case for a girl whose father is on death row, she finds herself in way over her head–simultaneously in trouble with her boss, the mafia, and someone who seems to want her dead. In addition to pursuing a man who has been shooting prostitutes, Alex finds herself investigating leads on the closed case that lead back to the 1950s. But Alex isn’t one to back down from a challenge, especially when she feels she can do the right thing.
Aside from the mysteries played out in Credo’s Hope, there are a lot of small, character-driven moments such as when Alex takes her newly “stolen” dog to obedience training or organizes a cleanup for an elderly crime victim. These moments make for a rather slow buildup in terms of action, but do help to engage the reader in Alex’s world and flesh out the people she cares for. Holt populates the novel with plenty of secondary characters, including Megan, Alex’s partner Casey, her nurse friends Maggie and Marcos, her boss Kate, and the mafia boss Gianina Angelino. In other words, the book is chock full of female characters, which is definitely one of its strongest merits. Holt herself used to work for law enforcement in Tucson, and I’m sure that many of the small details of Alex’s cases (especially the tedious procedural work) were drawn from experience.
I ended up enjoying the book, although it was a bit slow-starting and the occasional typos threw me out of the story. But it was a quick read, and I wanted to find out how the big mystery was going to be resolved. The original mystery of the prostitutes was given short shrift at times and wrapped up a little too quickly in favor of the death row mystery, but both had viable outcomes. Lesbian content was, I’m sorry to say, pretty much nonexistent. The only person that Alex overtly expressed attraction to was Marcos the bisexual nurse, and even that was fairly mild and quickly bypassed by the plot. I believe Casey, Alex’s partner, may be gay, but that might be wishful thinking on my part. Perhaps things will heat up in the sequel, Credo’s Legacy?
[Danika: Hmm, this was submitted as a lesbian novel. I guess the author is a lesbian…?]