Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Black and White by Wes Albers
Black and White, the debut novel by Wes Albers officially released today by ZOVA Books, is such a gripping story that I wanted to put on a uniform and ride patrol with John Hatch. In this story, veteran San Diego cop Hatch struggles with breaking in both a wonder-boy new supervisor and a freshly minted rookie partner while keeping a lid on crime in the rough Mid-City area of America's Finest City. Albers leavens his story setting with authentic details drawn from more than two decades in law enforcement.
In John Hatch, Albers presents a complex protagonist with whom the reader heartily identifies. In a grim story world short on positive role models, Hatch is one of the good guys. His motives are noble even when his methods are questioned.
When Hatch and partner Stevie are the first arriving officers at the scene of a homicide, Hatch can't shake the feeling there's more to the crime than meets the eye. Unwilling to settle for the easy answer to the question of whodunit, his investigating on patrol takes his partner and the reader deeper into the case. Albers uses the followup after the crime to weave in true-to-life elements about street-level policing and challenges facing the thinning blue line of San Diego's finest in a way that deepens story tension.
The reader who signs up to ride along with Hatch gets a fascinating companion on an intense journey of suspense and action. This novel rewards the reader looking for a thinking person's adrenaline rush. Albers, who also serves as Director of the Southern California Writers' Conference, is a gifted story teller. Without giving away the ending to the book, I can honestly say that when I go to sleep in San Diego tonight, I hope there's a cop like John Hatch keeping watch over my neighborhood.
This must-read work of contemporary fiction is now available in print and eBook format.