The Right Wrong Thing
Police officer Randy Spelling mistakenly kills an innocent pregnant teen. Then she tries to apologize to the family. The results are catastrophic. Will police psychologist Dr. Dot Meyerhoff’s intervention help–or hinder–the ongoing investigation?
By Thonie Hevron
You are reading my first-ever book review post. Oh sure, I’ve reviewed many books on Amazon and as a life-long reader, I’ve recommended more than a few. But every now and then, along comes a book that speaks to me. The Right Wrong Thing is this book.
Yet, I am no book reviewing amateur. I am currently the co-chair for the Copperfield’s/Redwood Writers Fiction Spotlight 2016. My team and I read, analyzed and judged sixteen books submitted by Redwood Writers’ authors. We considered plot, character development, pace, style, emotional impact, grammar, and book/cover design. That’s a lot to be cognizant of while trying to be entertained and enlightened. While I don’t have an MFA, I am somewhat educated in what makes a good story and an entertaining book.
First, I must say, Ellen Kirschman knows her stuff. She’s the author of I Love a Cop, I Love a Fireman, Counseling Cops: What Clinicians Need to Know and her first novel, Burying Ben. She’s worked in the cop counseling field—on the vanguard—for the past thirty years.
It’s all of this experience that has gone into this novel. To be sure, it is a work of fiction (although I can see shades of Ellen in the Dot Meyerhoff lead character), but it rings closely to real life. The plot is so contemporary that you can’t believe it hasn’t happened. Actions and reactions are so realistic that those readers outside law enforcement could be dismayed at the characters’ manipulations. The characters are nuanced and complex, even the simplest minor one has elements that bring him/her to life. I recognized of the many cop personalities.
The Right Wrong Thing is a mystery, a police procedural. An uneducated reader might think this book is a cozy, but it’s not. While there is no gore or steamy sex, neither is totally absent. I always think of a cozy as a pleasant cup of tea. Kirschman’s book is a jolt of Red Bull.
The pacing is impeccable: the story draws in the reader and just about the time you think something should happen—it does! The action continues through the book to the last chapter. Kirschman’s style is simple yet eloquent. She doesn’t need fifty cent clinical words to get her point across. She leaves just enough to the reader’s imagination to keep interest up. If I was a teacher grading this book, emotional impact would have an A+. From the synopsis, you can tell that this should speak to law enforcement professionals. It does. Kirschman touches on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), suicide by cop, suicide by crook, self-inflated administrators, the entrenched “good-old boy” culture inside most cop shops, cops fitness for duty and other pertinent topics. It may sound like covering all these points in a fiction novel would be preachy, but it’s not. It’s an entertaining mystery that is very satisfying.
I have I Love a Cop and Burying Ben. These are the next on my ‘to be read’ list.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough. If you’re looking for an authentic whodunit, do yourself a favor and buy The Right Wrong Thing.