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Reviewed by Essien Asian for Readers' Favorite
A conflicted detective must balance her chaotic family life with her ambitious professional life if she is to apprehend an unscrupulous killer in Alan Brenham’s Once Upon A Crime. Detective Madison Chase knows she has met her match when she is called to the scene of an unusual crime. A headless body is left on a horse for the police to discover and the only clue available is an interesting poem found on the body of the deceased. It looks like someone is going around and settling other people's unfinished business by using enterprising methods to mete out justice. Madison has her reasons for appreciating the actions of this individual but her job dictates that she track them down and arrest them. That may prove to be more difficult than she expects when the killer decides to take a personal interest in Madison's affairs. Only time will tell who will come out on top in Alan Brenham's Once Upon A Crime.
While the plot may not be unique, the concept of the primary protagonist sharing similarities with the killer does give the story a certain degree of authenticity. Following Chase as she tries to be the perfect mother to Emily without letting her in on her father’s less-than-stellar behavior creates the perfect dramatic subplot to anchor this intriguing story. Even the conversations between Chase and her colleagues carry a tinge of chauvinism one would find on the force once they are willing to look closely enough. The icing on the cake for this story has to be Grimes’s methodology which takes the idea of poetic justice very literally. Once Upon A Crime has the details and grit to keep a reader immersed in this puzzle of a story from start to finish with relative ease. Alan Brenham should be applauded for this realistic masterpiece.