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The Dime by Kathleen Kent

The Dime

by Kathleen Kent

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Betty Rhyzyk is a transplanted Brooklyn cop now in the narcotics division of the Dallas Police Department. A routine stakeout of a known drug distributor’s house becomes a murderous bloodbath when a Mexican drug lord drives by and sees his distributor talking with a policeman and a neighborhood do-gooder who reported his dog locked in his car in the Dallas heat. Three dead and one wounded does not make for a successful stakeout.

With the drug investigation now becoming a murder investigation, the lines of authority are blurring. One thing is apparent, though, Betty is being targeted by someone.

The Dime by Kathleen Kent moves along pretty swiftly. Betty, a tall, striking redheaded lesbian among her mostly conservative male police coworkers, has it tough. Being of Polish descent and being from Brooklyn, NY don’t make it any easier. Kent has created an interesting ensemble cast, including Betty’s deceased Uncle Benny, a cop who constantly whispers in her ear when the going gets tough.

However, Kent enters the universe of the unbelievable when a story of a murderous Mexican drug cartel morphs into evangelical Christianity and Civil War reenactments. So, what starts out as an action packed, interesting but somewhat routine mystery veers off the road. There is action throughout the book, which makes for fast reading.

I’m sure there will be more Betty Rhyzyk books and I’ll certainly give the second one a read through. But hopefully Kent will stay on track with that one. ( )
  EdGoldberg | May 7, 2017 |
Kathleen Kent has just released her new novel The Dime. I've read and really liked her historical novels and was looking forward to this newest book.

Wow. This latest was a complete departure from her previous work - and I loved it!

The Dime introduces us to Betty Rhyzyk - a Brooklyn cop from a long line of law enforcement. She and her girlfriend have relocated to Dallas. Now working as a Narcotics Detective, Riz has no lack of cases. The Mexican drug cartels are making sure of that. But when her latest case results in disaster, Riz is determined to avenge her colleagues and her reputation. Drug dealers, stalkers, white supremacists, the rich, the poor, a cult and more populate the pages of The Dime.

I loved this character! I could absolutely picture her physically and her personality comes through in her thoughts, dialogue and actions. There are two sides to Riz - the tough cop she needs to be at work and the softer personal side at home with Julie. The supporting cast is just as well drawn. There's a wide variety of personalities on the squad. I really liked Riz's partner Seth. And of course, there are those that don't want a lesbian leader. Kent handles these conflicts and attitudes with a deft hand in both Betty's personal and work lives.

Extremely well plotted, great police procedural work and the action will keep you turning pages. The ground has been laid - and this reader will be waiting for the next in the series. More please. ( )
  Twink | Mar 3, 2017 |
Kathleen Kent
The Dime: A Novel
Mulholland Books
Hardcover, 978-0-3163-1103-8 (also available as an e-book, an audio book, and on Audible), 352 pgs., $26.00
February 14, 2017

Elizabeth “Betty” Rhyzyk, a gutsy, smart, unconventional detective from a family of Brooklyn cops, moves to Dallas and joins the police department’s narcotics unit. The first investigation she runs in Dallas, involving Mexican drug cartels and East Texas meth cookers engaged in a turf war, spins out of control. As the bodies begin to stack up, Rhyzyk acquires a sadistic stalker, and the action takes a startlingly brutal turn.

The Dime, the first in a new mystery/suspense series, is also a change of genre for Kathleen Kent, best-selling author of historical fiction. Detective Rhyzyk‘s first-person narrative begins with a bang and doesn’t let up. Fast-paced and tightly plotted, The Dime serves up whiplash-inducing twists and an (unfortunately) politically timely white nationalist-supremacist element, with “Old Testament revelations … of such monstrous proportions that they would make even sleeping infants cry and feral dogs slink away in terror,” reminding me of Texas’s own David Lindsey.

Kent provides Rhyzyk a richly detailed backstory, and a refreshingly realistic relationship with Jackie, her girlfriend of eight years, a pediatric radiologist whose family disapproves of the couple’s “lifestyle” (“hom’sexiality”). The Dime’s cast of supporting characters is diverse and satisfyingly complex. Kent allows her characters and their relationships to each other the development they deserve, and makes us care about their lives and fates.

Dallas is a character in The Dime, and Texans will feel as if they’re on a ride-along with Rhyzyk. They’ll also appreciate a New Yorker attempting to adapt to “Texas … the only place in the known universe … that actually got hotter after the sun went down,” where a dog-walking suburban woman packs a “Beretta with a diamond-pavé grip” (a Valentine’s Day gift, natch). “Texans … will froth at the mouth when delayed thirty seconds at a red light,” Rhyzyk says, “but will wait an hour for three fried eggs and a minute steak.”

Kent is a multi-faceted and multi-talented writer. Her action scenes are exhilarating; her humor alternating between teasing (“never trust a short man with a tall list of grudges”), and sharp (“What’s the difference between yogurt and Texas? … Yogurt’s the one with the live culture”); her dialogue snappy (“Stop trying to make me feel better,” Rhyzyk tells her partner, “I’ve gotten worse ass-drubbings from my grandmother.” “She the one that was the nun?”). Kent’s style with the darker elements of The Dime is visceral, evoking chills and causing me to squirm in my chair.

The Dime isn’t all action and cleverness, though. These characters are also introspective. “If not for Jackie, my idea of emotional self-help would be half a bottle of Jameson,” Rhyzyk admits. “I’d be living out of a suitcase, all my T-shirts would be black, and I’d still be buying underwear in the boys’ section of Target.”

Benny, Rhyzyk’s late uncle and mentor, provides insight. “That’s the thing about cults,” Benny says. “They not only dig the ditch, they lie in it, cover themselves over with dirt, and then cry about how dark the world has gotten.”

Speaking of cults, the construction of the climax to The Dime is ingenious, the tension excruciating. The denouement nicely tees up the second installment, leaving one crucial question dangling. I await the next novel in this series happily, if impatiently.

Originally published in Lone Star Literary Life. ( )
  TexasBookLover | Feb 5, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316311030, Hardcover)

Brooklyn's toughest female detective takes on Dallas--and neither is ready for the fight.

Dallas, Texas is not for the faint of heart. Good thing for Betty Rhyzyk she's from a family of take-no-prisoners Brooklyn police detectives. But her Big Apple wisdom will only get her so far when she relocates to The Big D, where Mexican drug cartels and cult leaders, deadbeat skells and society wives all battle for sunbaked turf.

Betty is as tough as the best of them, but she's deeply shaken when her first investigation goes sideways. Battling a group of unruly subordinates, a persistent stalker, a formidable criminal organization, and an unsupportive girlfriend, the unbreakable Detective Betty Rhyzyk may be reaching her limit.

Combining the colorful pyrotechnics of Breaking Bad with the best of the gritty crime genre, The Dime is Kathleen Kent's brilliant mystery debut and the launch of a sensational new series.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 11 Oct 2016 01:20:12 -0400)

Betty Rhyzyk, Brooklyn's toughest female police detective, relocates to rough-and-tumble Dallas, Texas, where she must contend with a group of unruly subordinates, a persistent stalker, a formidable criminal organization, and an unsupportive girlfriend.… (more)

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