The Drop Zone by Bob Kroll (T.J. Peterson Mystery)

The Drop Zone is the first book in a new crime mystery series by Bob Kroll focusing on detective T.J. Peterson, a character with a heavy and dark past that still haunts him today, making him cranky, an alcoholic and quite the tormented person.

The book deals with the dark recesses of the depraved human mind, child pornography and trafficking and of course, murder. Two murders in fact, and Peterson has the task of solving both seemingly unrelated cases that were dropped in his lap recently.

The first case is of a dead priest who was beaten to death in his church, and the second the body of an unidentified woman.

He is strongly drawn to the young woman’s case because it intersects with his own life. His daughter is gone from his life, only to torment him from far away every single day through disturbing video calls.

The more he investigates the crime, the more he realizes that there is much more to it all than just a murder. There is a whole ring of underage prostitution and trafficking, with the major players being people you can’t touch all that easily. People in power, with money and everyone else in their pockets.

It is a road paved with corruption, and Peterson and his partner, Danny, have to walk it to unravel it all. And what they unravel, might just cost Peterson his sanity and soul, both which already hang by a thin thread.

When I started to read I didn’t know what to expect, except that it will be a dark book. And dark it was indeed. The story touches on subjects that most people would like to never even hear about. The main character, Peterson, is the typical antihero. His life and career are down the drains. He makes bad choices and many mistakes, which make him nothing more, nothing less than human. He has his demons to fight and the bottle is his main and constant companion.

Yet I felt inexplicably drawn to this character. He is like a hound who wouldn’t let go of a scent once he picked it up.

The writing flows pleasantly, and the author tackles the subject in a way that makes you want to flip the pages fast and leaves you breathlessly throughout.

There were just a few random places where I felt the writing could have used a bit more polishing, but overall it was a good book to read. Suspenseful from the beginning to the end, and darker and darker the more pages you read.

The only thing that really made me confused was the ending. I’m still not sure what really happened there, I re-read it a few times, at no avail. I just don’t understand it. I’m hoping that the second book in the series will shed some light here.

Overall it was a great read with an true anti-hero and a story line that, well, let just say, hinted at a rough world that is difficult to digest for the best of us. If you like dark, gritty crime mysteries, this book is a great choice to pick up.

I hope that the second book will reveal a bit more about Peterson’s past, about his daughter and what really makes him tick the way he does.

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