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    Review of VIGILANTE by Stephen J. Cannell


    St. Martin's Press, December 2011

    Lita Mendez has been nothing but trouble for the Los Angeles police. She's filed lawsuits, made false claims of inappropriate behavior, and cost the department thousands of hours of paperwork--time that could better have been spent chasing the gang members Mendez intends to protect. It's no big surprize when Mendez ends up murdered, but police detective Shane Scully has a bad feeling... a feeling that gets worse when reality star Nixon Nash shows up with his TV cameras. Nash has decided to make the murder the focus of this year's show. In the previous seasons, every cop involved has been destroyed. Now it looks like Scully is in the sights.

    Nash goes out of his way to be "helpful." He supplies Scully with a possible suspect and tells Scully he wants to cooperate. The "suspect" quickly turns out to be a false path, and one of Nash's earlier victims warns Scully that everything in the show will be connected. Still, Scully has to wonder, how did Nash respond so quickly to the murder? Unfortunately, Nash has a perfect alibi.

    Author Stephen J. Cannell (see more reviews of mysteries by Cannell)writes a compelling story. Scully is a sympathetic character working the often thankless job as police detective. Nash is pure Hollywood, willing to do whatever it takes to make his show a success, and happy to destroy the careers of a few cops in the process. Cannell delivers a fast-paced story, planting clues and delivering payoffs that the mystery reader will enjoy. The whole story is a little over the top, but then again, the entire field of reality television is over the top, so perhaps this makes the plot even more realistic. At any rate, VIGILANTE is an enjoyable read. Four Stars

    Reviewed 5/09/12

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