If you are a fan of good crime fiction, start the year right with Kathleen Kent’s “Detective Betty” trilogy, which follow the ups and (mostly) downs of a tough-as-nails, Brooklyn-born, Dallas-based narcotics detective. Betty Rhyzyk was raised by a family of policemen, but was all but destroyed by the death of her brother and the rampant police corruption in Brooklyn. For love, Betty has followed her partner Jackie to Dallas, where she is also hoping for an easier gig. Unfortunately, Betty is still haunted by her past, and not only are the good old boys in blue just as corrupt in Texas, Betty’s new batch of bad guys aren’t afraid of her one bit, even if she is carrying and badge and a gun.
In Betty’s first outing in The Dime, a vengeful cult leader Evangeline Roy tortures and nearly kills Betty. Both women survive and Roy escapes, leaving Betty perpetually looking over her shoulder, even as she throws herself into chasing down the next criminal. In the subsequent volumes of her adrenaline-filled story, The Burn and The Pledge, Betty’s dogged sense of right and wrong get her in more trouble than most of her male counterparts, and her inability to let go of an investigation or listen to authority figures has her on the outs with her superiors more often than not. Even when she’s closing drug cartel cases, catching criminals and getting promotions, Betty faces adversity as a female detective and as a lesbian on the force, and finds she must work that much harder to get respect. No worries –Detective Betty Rhyzyk thrives under pressure. Fans of Michael Connelly’s books and smart, high-octane crime fiction should snap this trilogy up and get ready to enjoy.