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Book Review - "All Day and a Night" by Alafair Burke

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right sidebar.

9780062208385_p0_v4_s260x420All Day and A Night by Alafair Burke combines the genres of a legal procedural, police procedural, and a psychological thriller.  This book is the fifth in the NYPD police detective Ellie Hatcher series.  Readers will learn the tactics used in an investigation and feel they are part of the investigative teams on both sides of the aisle.

The plot begins with the killing of a psychologist that appears to be tied to the serial killer Anthony Amaro.  The only problem with that conclusion is that the supposed killer has a good alibi; he is in prison.  At about the same time the DA’s office is notified that the publicity seeking celebrity trial lawyer, reminiscent of Gloria Allred, is looking into a wrongful conviction claim.  Detective Ellie Hatcher and her partner J.J. Rogan are called in as part of the “fresh look” team by Elli’s boyfriend, Assistant District Attorney Max Donovan. 

Being a former prosecutor Burke uses her past experiences to write realistic plots.  She wanted to write this story to inform readers that many times the police and prosecutorial teams have tunnel vision in the way they look at a case.  She told blackfive.net, “One of my first cases was a wrongful conviction case.  The two original prosecutors could not admit that they had convicted two innocent people.  Prosecutors many times have the assumption the police got the right guy and now it’s their job to prove it.  It is very difficult to back away from that and to think maybe we got it wrong. It seems whatever we are looking for is what we see.  There is this video where they ask you to count how many red shirts are in it.  Because that is what you are looking for you missed the guy in the gorilla outfit walking across the basketball court.  You missed it because you only focus on one thing.”

The characters are very well developed with an in depth description of their personal lives and personalities.  Ellie Hatcher is not perfect but sees herself as responsible and the protector of her family as well as society.  On the other hand her lover Max is seen as someone who wants to get ahead, but sees himself above the fray.  He always thinks of himself as the good guy; yet, tends to put Ellie in uncomfortable situations.

Burke does a masterful job in creating tensions between the characters.  Carrie Blank, the younger sister of one of the serial killers victims, decides to be a part of the team that is looking into evidence that will exonerate Amaro in order to find her sister’s real killer.  She becomes angry with her employer who hired her for the public relations aspect.  There are also tensions between Rogan and Ellie since he thinks they were chosen to help the DA whitewash the case. Ellie is angry that she is put in the middle of Rogan and Max butting heads.

Burke commented to blackfive.net, “Police and prosecutors butt heads more than the public realizes.  A lot of police officers think prosecutors are the problem in that they do not do the right thing for either political motivations or because they are too chicken to go to trial.  On the other hand a lot of prosecutors think cops go overboard and don’t investigate thoroughly enough. I hoped I show in this book how a case has different perspectives, which can make each particular team go in different directions.”

All Day and A Night has a number of twists and surprises.  Readers should not assume anything after the first couple of chapters because the story will be turned upside down.  This is a riveting and complex mystery that is a fast-paced page-turner.

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