This review was Completed by Diane donovan, ebook Reviewer for the Midwest Book Review
Hallways in the Night
Haywood Street Press
ASIN: B00HCLRPPS $3.99
Hallways in the Night is thriller writing quite different from your standard approach, and centers around a baseball star, a stakeout that takes a very different turn when a cop is prompted to pursue a speeding suspect, and a murder that changes lives. It's a recommendation for any who want something different in their mystery/legal thriller reading and it delivers on this promise with a tightly-wound story of suspense and intrigue that will keep even seasoned mystery and legal thriller readers guessing to the end.
One powerful element of Hallways in the Night is its focus on racial encounters that entangle a community and pit cops against blacks. That's what Dave faces when his probe of a serial killer who targets kids becomes entwined with a community's perceptions of the special interests and prejudices of police charged with protecting lives.
And so what evolves from a series of murders and a half-drunk baseball player's demise over a speeding ticket becomes a highly charged trial focusing on civil liberties as much as murder, with marchers and rioters adding tension and further complexity to a volatile situation.
It's this multifaceted perspective on how murder adopts political and social proportions that keeps Hallways in the Night far more than your standard 'whodunnit'. The web of intrigue holds motivations that move into personal realms as a policeman stands trial for a suspect's death and faces accusations that he has overstepped the boundaries of his profession by leaving a stakeout and acting recklessly.
Dave's impulsive decision one fatal night holds the power to not just change his life, but promote the political ambitions of a District Attorney who sees this case as a way of gaining fame and a toehold in Congress.
All this Dave realizes too late, after his love for Atlanta is forever destroyed and after events make their indelible mark on his future. Readers follow Dave's evolution and revelations with bated breath largely because these aren't evident from the beginning, but slowly evolve from the roots of confrontation and deceit.
R.C. O'Leary's story is complex on many levels; but perhaps its most satisfying quality is a continuing element of surprise, with unexpected chains of events and protagonist growth paired with legal and social changes. From the story of how a conscientious cop finds himself backed into a corner to how political ambitions play on circumstance to change lives, Hallways in the Night tackles one of the most basic issues of a public servant's life: balancing ideals with career demands and living with choices necessarily made as an impulse in the process of ensuring survival and safety.
Whether innocent or guilty, the focus here isn't on the serving of justice or its tenuous roots in the legal and criminal justice system, but on how individuals live with, react to and ultimately are changed by their choices and service. In the end it boils down to being "...honest about who you are".
Hallways in the Night thus will attract and satisfy readers looking for more than a light 'whodunit' mystery.