What happens when a small-town police force runs up against a series of bizarre events? Science will out, if they understand their police procedures. In Seventh-Inning Stretch, you have two deaths that occur under gruesome and unimaginable circumstances. Finding out what brought it all on will leave you intrigued.
Jake Hines has recently become chief of detectives in Rutherford, Minnesota, and he's finding it hard to supervise rather than taking charge. In the process, he bends everyone a little out of shape and begins to back off . . . just a little.
As the book opens, things are looking up. There's been a temporary lull in serious crimes. So he directs everyone to work on cold cases. He even has time to hear about a series of Murphy and other con games being run by grifters in the small town and its environs. New offices are being constructed and the new furniture is being delivered.
At home, he's settling into the old farmhouse that Trudy Hansen and he have bought together. His only complaint is that her long hours of DNA training on Saturdays leave them with too little time together. He's slightly concerned about how to get the roof fixed, insulation put in and rewiring done . . . but that's what credit cards are for, isn't it? Trudy's not so sure.
Then, everything turns topsy-turvy when a body is found stuffed into a trash bin behind the Lotus Blossom restaurant downtown. But no one saw or heard anything. And what's that stuffed into the stiff's mouth?
Nothing turns out to be what it seems in this exciting story, but with careful research and thinking everything is pretty well sorted out.
I would have rated this book higher, but the modus operandi of the murder was exceedingly gruesome and disgusting. The story would have worked better for me with a more tasteful demise. If you have delicate tastes in your crime fiction, this book may not appeal to you.
After you finish this fine police procedural, think about where you may be assuming that things are one way . . . when they are actually quite different. How can you test your assumptions before you act on them?