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The Red Dahlia (Anna Travis Mysteries) - Lynda La Plante I would probably give this book 3.5 stars if I could.

The main character, Anna Travis, was a bit needy, which was interesting and surprising, considering her job as a homicide detective. Anna was also clever, something she proved a few times when the investigation stalled.

She had had a short relationship with Detective Chief Inspector James Langston, who ends up heading the murder investigation the novel focuses on. That doesn't get in the way, but it does add some spice to the story, especially because Langston, while not a schmuck, does seem to be a bit of a jerk, and Anna is obviously not completely over him.

I have not read a lot of mysteries. While reading this one, I wondered if its resolution would be obvious to veterans. The investigation goes nowhere for a long time. Then they get a big break that did not piss me off, but I wondered if a lot of veterans would cry foul. After the big break, things get dicey again, but they have a lot more to work with; it almost feels like a different investigation after the big break. The story takes place in England and you get the feel of it, somewhat, but if you like to read mysteries that second as travel literature, this does not quite accomplish that.

The egotistical murderer is a depraved sadist and a sexual deviant whose victims are young women... You better not like him. Though the gory details upset Anna, she maintains a professional detachment for the most part that I did not expect to last. What they discover seems to affect Langston more, not that Anna comes across as cold. I liked her.

If you choose to read this book, you have to be willing to read about things that will occasionally make your cringe, or should.