Book Review: The Awkward Squad

THE AWKWARD SQUAD | Sophie Henaff
04.03.2018 | Quercus USA
Rating 4/5 stars

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Anne Capestan has been suspended from her police duties for firing one too many bullets at the bad guys in her cases. Now that her suspension is wrapping up, she has been called to HQ to learn what will happen to her career. Expecting the worst, she is surprised to learn that she has been put in charge of a new police squad to work on cold cases. As the details unravel it becomes clear that this new squad is a haven for those who the Paris police force are trying to stash away in a corner. Much like herself, this squad is a ragtag group of misfits with a slew of various issues including, an officer believed to be bad luck, an officer who is producing a hit procedural drama, an officer who is known to leak information to the papers, and so many other personalities.

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Here’s the bottom line: we’re cleaning up the police to give the stats some gloss. The drunkards, the thugs, the depressives, the layabouts, and everyone in between – the people hamstringing the force but who can’t be fired – are all to be absorbed into one squad and forgotten about in some corner.

While on the surface this group might look like they could never join forces to solve a case, Capestan is determined to have them succeed. The squad quickly breaks up into smaller teams to investigate intriguing cold cases they find in the stacks of files assigned to them. There appear to be quite a few cases that were left unsolved and shoved under the carpet: an elderly woman’s murder supposedly a result of a robbery; a sailor found shot and dead in the Seine; and a mysterious link to a ferry that shipwrecked travelling from Florida to Paris. Can Capestan bring this awkward squad of police officers together to solve these crimes?

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No more spending 70 percent of your time doing paperwork. No more night rounds or graveyard shifts. No more junkies redecorating the toilets at the station. We’re free to do the job we dreamt of doing when we signed up. We investigate without pressure, without adhering to protocols or procedures, and without having to file reports. So let’s make the most of it instead of sitting around moaning like teenagers who’ve been barred from throwing a party.

THE AWKWARD SQUAD is an exciting take on the longstanding mystery and crime fictions genres. Instead of focusing on a traditional police procedural, Henaff chooses to write about a squad of officers who the department is quietly trying to hide under the carpet. Each member of the squad has their own unique set of quirks, which make them fun and interesting to read about. The cold cases the squad looks in to are also different that the norm, in that they all appear to have been cover-ups. THE AWKWARD SQUAD is equal parts intriguing mystery mixed with captivating and unique characters, each drawing the reader to need to know more.

A special thank you to the lovely folks over at Quercus USA for sending me an advanced copy of THE AWKWARD SQUAD in exchange for my honest review. This lovely novel is out today, so be sure to add it to your TBRs!

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