Clyde Phillips

Jane Candiotti - Homicide Inspector, San Francisco, California


(Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer AUG 24, 2003)

"As he pulled the door shut, there was music, a fanfare coming from the ballroom, the applause. The fanfare reached its crescendo and the applause died away.

The fog covered Philip Iverson like a shroud."

As the first line reads, "It was Phillip Iverson's big night." One of San Francisco's best loved citizens, the billionaire is being honored for his years of kindness and philanthropy. He doesn't get to enjoy the honors granted him for long, as someone shoots him, then tries to make it look like a robbery. Lieutenant Jane Candiotti and her partner in law, as well as in life, Kenny Marks get the case. Of course it's high profile and therefore even higher stress than usual as people clamor for swift justice. When the body of a homeless man turns up, it doesn't make things easier...she has to solve both crimes, and if she turns her attention away from the billionaire, people in power get angry...but if she doesn't pay enough attention to the homeless victim, she's accused of ignoring him because of his race and social situation.

It gets more complicated, of course. Iverson's wife is definitely hiding something, and one of the detectives, Linda French, seems determined to ruin what evidence they can find. Then another body turns up, connected to the homeless one by the same odd S written in the snow. Oh, yes. It's going to be a long week.

At first, Phillips seems to hit all the cliches....the homeless shelter Reverand, the evil industrialist...but he manages to twist them around, and add some really interesting elements into the mix. I was surprised when I discovered the identity of the killer, and pleased by how everything eventually falls into place.

One of the things I liked best was the interaction between Kenny and Jane. There are issues...Kenny, a younger man, does have some problems with the fact that his wife of four months is a lieutenant ahead of him, but instead of any fighting they overcome these things and work together. I loved this, because often when there are situations between married couples (especially in police procedurals...don't get me started on the angry policeman's wife soap box) the secondary character comes off as a sulky brat, and while I applaud realism I do get tired of constant arguing. This makes their relationship into a nice bit of escapism, a perfectly working aspect of the book that I both enjoyed being a vicarious part of and while feeling that it added a lot to how the plot resolved itself.

There is also some interesting aspects to the police politics. Aside from the new female lieutenant desperate not to screw up on her first really major case dynamic, you have a foil for Jane in Linda French. Linda creates a contrast...the one who is keeping her job because she's a woman and no one wants to fire her; against Jane, the one who worked her way by courage and merit. You're not even sure if Linda is really that dumb, or if maybe she's being careless on purpose.

I recommend this book because it's very solid, very well plotted. The ending is quite a surprise. Definitely a worthwhile read for anyone looking for a good police procedural mystery.

  • Amazon readers rating: from 9 reviews

Read a chapter excerpt from Sacrifice at

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About the Author:

Clyde Phillips is a prominent writer and producer for television and film, he created Get Real and Parker Lewis Can't Lose for Fox and Suddenly Susan for NBC. He has written episodes for Dexter, including being nominated for an Edgar award for the episode, "Crocodile." He is also executive producer for Dexter. Phillips was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for best dramatic series at the February 2008 ceremony for his work on the second season of Dexter. He was nominated for the same award at the February 2009 ceremony for his work on the third season of Dexter.

He lives with his wife and daughter in California, and Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. About Us | Subscribe | Review Team | History | ©1998-2014