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Kind of Blue

"Kind of Blue" by Miles Corwin, Oceanview Publishing, 323 pages, $25.95

A Jewish police detective with a Jewish mother on the scene. The ethnic mix of Los Angeles. The strange city of Venice, a Los Angeles suburb. These are just bits of the complex mishmash of this mystery novel by Miles Corwin, a former crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

Ash Levine is the hero here, telling his story in first person dialogue. He is an excellent detective who becomes disillusioned when a young girl, Latisha Patton, is killed. She was a witness in a case he was investigating. Now he's at odds and ends and racked with guilt.

Then, a cop who was one of L.A.'s finest but who retired early, is murdered during a supposed burglary at his home. The chief of police, a one-time partner and close friend of that cop, wants the case solved, right now. No one is better for this than Ash Levine, so he is convinced -- despite warnings from his mother -- to rejoin the force and find the killer.

Oh, this is a complicated one, good for those readers who think they can solve a mystery from the clues the author tosses them, or who just like to read a well-written, engaging novel of crime.

Francis Moul, Ph.D., is an environmental historian.

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