The murder happened in 1962. On April fourth of that year in Watertown, Massachusetts, Janie Brolin was killed. Janie was blind and spending a year in the United States away from her home in Great Britain. It was never solved and District Attorney Monique Lamont has decided Massachusetts State Police Investigator Win Gerano is going to solve it. He should want to without question and the fact that there is no DNA evidence or any other meaningful evidence shouldn’t be a problem despite his observation that it is not a cold case; it is a frozen one. She thinks it is going to be easy. After all, she believes that the case was the first murder committed by the notorious Boston strangler.

She sees the case as a “drama” to be played out in the media and ultimately solved because she made it happen. She sees the case as a major part of her campaign to take back the streets, the neighborhoods, etc from the criminal element. Like every politician, she has dreamed up a sure fire and very public way of stopping crime and now only needs Win Gerano to act like a robot and make her vision happen. Not only will solving the case be a huge media public relations event for her, it will be a slap in the face of local law enforcement in the area that has formed an organization called “Front.” The acronym stands for “Friends, Resources, Officers, Networking Together” and currently has sixty departments sharing resources, man power, etc in an effort to bypass the state police for funding, equipment, technical expertise, etc. It is politics pure and simple and D.A Monique Lamont is shoving Win down the local cop’s throats whether or not Win Gerano or they like it. The case is going to be solved. Period.

This novel is a sequel to the novel “At Risk” which first introduced the characters involved. While the events that happened in that novel could have easily caused this sequel to have depth, author Patrica Cornwell has continued to make the series as lean and as shallow as possible. Therefore, what could have led to deep character development instead is given short shrift because readers are often told about character emotions, needs and wants, but the characters never come alive for the reader. Multiple secondary storylines are given the barest of detail, discarded quickly, only to be left hanging, or quickly concluded at the of the novel depriving the reader of a meaningful read.

The reader is left with a short book at 180 pages driven relentlessly forward by the classic twin themes of political rage and an old murder case. Like the issue of character development, both themes could have been developed significantly and weren’t. The result is a read that while interesting and fast moving so that the reader continues to turn pages, it disappointingly has zero depth and isn’t worthy of much attention.

The Front

Patricia Cornwell

G. P. Putnam’s Sons (Penguin Group)


ISBN# 978-0-399-15418-8


180 Pages


Review copy provided by the Plano, Texas Public Library system. For more information on the library system, visit

Kevin R. Tipple © 2008

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