COUNTY LINE is the fourth novel by Bill Cameron featuring former homicide detective Skin Kadash, and the Kadash Chronology also features several stories published in various collections. As a general rule, I love crime fiction series characters. I’ve always figured this has something to do with my introduction to crime fiction being via Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct series, wherein I followed Steve Carella, Cotton Hawes, Meyer Meyer, Bert Kling, Richard Genero and their colleagues , families, and the baddies they chased over the course of decades and through each story that kept me captivated.

For no particular reason, though, I’ve never started a series at the beginning. I have nothing against it in principle, but I believe that books find us as much as we find them, and it’s just worked out that way for me.

Now, I can add Skin to my list of series heroes—and have added LOST DOG, CHASING SMOKE, and DAY ONE to my “to be read” list. Bill was good enough to get Skin to answer some questions for me, which you can read here.

In addition to an appealing, multi-faceted, and never stereotypical protagonist, COUNTY LINE embodies one of my favorite things on earth: a bargain. Because while is it one book, it artfully weaves together two distinct stories. So it’s a two-fer. BOGO. A deal.

At the start of COUNTY LINE, we find Skin returning from a vacation, of sorts. The kind one needs to take rather than wants to take. Upon his return to Portland, he find that his lady love, Ruby Jane Whittaker (have I mentioned that Bill Cameron names characters as well as any author ever has?) has left town without out so much as a “by your leave” to anyone. Oh, and there’s a dead guy in the bathtub in her apartment.

So Skin, like any good hero, sets off to rescue Ruby Jane. And like any good story, this is far from as simple as it sounds, particularly since she might not need rescuing at all.

COUNTY LINE crosses state and chronological lines with aplomb. Skin’s journey—and that second story I mentioned—is populated with characters, not one of whom could be described as a caricatures. At the same time, none are so realistic as to be boring.

Bill Cameron understands the art of balance. He knows that a good mystery doesn’t need a lot of flash, but it requires a story that hooks the reader immediately, and doesn’t let them go, even beyond the final page.

Blurb: A captivating story inhabited by characters who will stay with you

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