Detective Sergeant Jill Jackson is seeing the seamier side of Sydney’s drugs underworld working undercover. The aim of the operation is the identification and removal not only of drug pushers, and the drug barons, but also of the small kitchen labs where pills and tablets are being manufactured. Jill’s role requires that she live in communities where she is likely to meet users and through them gain the trust of those further up the chain. It is a dangerous sting, and the complexity increases ten-fold when she meets her younger sister Cassie at a party.
The main action BLACK ICE takes place over just 15 days, some of the described events occurring simultaneously. The convergence of several story lines: the young mother who has just done 12 months in gaol for carrying, now bent on revenge; the university chemistry student raking it in manufacturing in his kitchen now realises that it is all getting a lot more complicated than he envisaged; Jill’s own relationship with her family and her sister in particular; these all add heightened interest to what feels in particular like an authoritative novel.
BLACK ICE is #3 in Giarratano’s Jill Jackson series. While it is part of a series, BLACK ICE works quite well as a stand-alone. Giarratano sees to it that the reader gets plenty of Jackson’s back story. The action moves well, and the scenarios felt very believable.
My rating: 4.5
Background on Leah Giarratano from her publisher:
Dr Leah Giarratano has had a long career as a clinical psychologist. Her professional background offers a unique selling point in this genre. Leah is an expert in psychological trauma, sex offences and psychopathology and has had many years experience assessing psychopaths and treating their victims. She has worked in psychiatric hospitals, with the defence force, and in the corrections system with offenders who suffer severe personality disorders. She has assessed and treated survivors of just about every imaginable psychological trauma, including hostages; war veterans; rape, assault, and accident victims; and has worked with police, fire and ambulance officers. In 2009 Leah was the expert psychologist on Channel 7’s Beyond the Darklands, a program which delves into the psyche of Australia’s most fearsome criminals.
There is no doubt that Leah Giarratano is an Australian writer to watch and follow.