Betrayal in Blue

Mamba Mysteries

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
526 Pages
Reviewed on 07/09/2021
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Author Biography

C. R. Downing is a retired award-winning science teacher and author of award-winning short stories and sci-fi novels.

Betrayal in Blue is based on the experience of a police officer who was part of a task force against violent criminals in a city in the western United States. The summary report from that task force to the police department was five pages long. The first four pages were a narrative of the task force’s actions and results and were released to the media for their use.

The fifth page was a list of task force members with annotations of their specific contributions. It remained in-house. At least it was supposed to remain in-house.

Somehow, a copy of the fifth page found its way out of police headquarters. Several task force members and their families were targets of anonymous threats, vandalism, and drive-by shootings. The Chief of Police directed one member of the task force to leave the city, and his career in law enforcement, after his family home and personal vehicles were riddled with bullets. The police department could not guarantee his family’s safety.

That incident is the inspiration for this story.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite

In Betrayal in Blue: Mamba Mysteries by C. R. Downing, former police Lieutenant Phil Mamba, now a private detective, teams up with select sources to create a list of drug traffickers. The police must use the list to launch a coordinated attack on the drug traffickers. But before they can get things together, word leaks out about the police, and the syndicate launches a ruthless attack on the police officers and their families. Now Mamba finds himself in dire straits as he investigates the leaks while struggling to stop the bloodbath. It is gritty work, but can he solve this case before more bodies of innocent people turn up?

C. R. Downing creates a setting in the mid-’80s that is realistic, and readers will enjoy the way he writes about police work. The story is pulsating, packed with action, and features rock-solid characters. An intelligent plan quickly goes bad, turning the tide against those who, in fact, should be in control of a situation. Fans of sleuth novels will be enthralled by this story of betrayal and an investigation that pits a seasoned detective against time and gangs. Deftly plotted, it absorbs readers as they discover how police departmental leaks come about and whether these can be solved in time to prevent more ruthless attacks from the syndicate. Betrayal in Blue: Mamba Mysteries is a gut-punch, a trail-blazer intelligently crafted, and features exquisite prose and superb storytelling. The believable characters and the strong plot points had me turning the pages, but the action made it impossible to put this book down.