Member Reviews

Face of Greed is a great book and gives us da strong female lead, because James L’Etoile writes women that way, real, not idealized. It’s one of the reasons I admire his style..

Full Murder in Common review here:

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James L’Etoile worked within the criminal justice system for 20 years. His crime fiction is laden with the authentic detail only someone with that kind of experience can supply. His stand-alone novel Black Label (Level Best Books, 2021) won a 2022 Silver Falchion award at Killer Nashville. Dead Drop (Level Best Books, 2022), first in the series about Maricopa County Detective Nathan Parker, was nominated for 2023 Anthony and Lefty awards. Now Oceanview Publishing is releasing L’Etoile’s first book in a series about Sacramento, California, police detective Emily Hunter and her partner Javier Medina on November 7, 2023.

Hunter and Medina are called to what appears to be a violent home invasion in which the home owner is killed and his wife beaten. Both the mayor and the chief of police were on the scene when Hunter and Medina arrived, signaling the victims had political connections. In fact, the home owner was Roger Townsend, who ran the mayor’s last election campaign. The Townsends’ social and political pull permeated and hindered the investigation considerably, yet Hunter and Medina, who make a good team, managed to uncover some questionable alliances between the Townsends and local gangs. They soon began to wonder if the ostensible home invasion wasn’t a cover for something else entirely.

This is an encouraging start to a new police procedural series. The interaction and collaborative cooperation between Hunter and Medina are among the best parts of the book. The subplot of Hunter’s search for care for her failing mother hits home for a lot of folks these days. The mingling of gangs and politicians with questionable ethics is well done.

However, I feel compelled to point out that I am really tired of the competent cop fighting inept upper management trope that is so common now. Not that useless managers don’t exist, I have had more than my fair share of them. But portraying upper management as blithering idiots is not realistic. It’s more accurate to show them as consumed with the administrative demands of their positions: the higher up the chain any employee in any organization moves, the more attuned they have to be to financial and political dynamics. I always thought Steven Havill handled the uninformed manager in the early Bill Gastner books exceptionally well. Gastner made a point of getting along with his boss, no matter how little he knew, because Gastner understood it was part of his job. Gastner also recognized the strengths his boss brought to the sheriff’s office and acknowledged them openly. It’s an approach more writers of police procedurals should consider.

Booklist gave this title a starred review.

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This mystery/thriller is built in layers. We first meet the detective team as they arrive at the scene of a brutal crime. An influential businessman has been murdered and his wife assaulted during a break in. At first look, it seems a straight forward case, but they soon find out just how influential this man and his wife are. This is the back story to FACE OF GREED. Detectives Emily Hunter and Javier Medina are experienced detectives who quickly find themselves being constantly watched and their actions questioned by those who want this crime solved quickly. When a homeless man is identified as the killer, the detectives are directed to stand down. But this suspect does not fit the clues they have, so they will continue, even if the investigation takes them into dangerous territory.

James L'EToile was an associate warden familiar with both police and criminal activites. He spent his working life in the California state prison environment. His experience lends an authenticity to his writing that ramps up the characters and their interactions to keep the readers interested and guessing where the detectives will land. While his back library may not be extensive yet, his future on my TBR list is ensured.

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A new gritty crime series, Face of Greed by James L'Etoile (2023) features Detective Emily Hunter and Javier Medina of the Sacramento police. The home invasion murder of a wealthy businessman sees the Mayor and Police Chief take direct interest in Emily’s and Javier’s investigation. Sassy Emily doesn’t appreciate the interference and is determined to follow the leads wherever they have to, despite the pressure to close the case quickly. When another body is discovered with possible links to crime gangs, the seemingly random home invasion connects to Sacramento’s wealth elites and possible conspiracy. This is a smart multilayered crime tale with a promising new energetic detective duo that makes for a four and a half stars rating. With thanks to Oceanview Publishing and the author, for an uncorrected advanced review copy for review purposes. As always, the opinions herein are totally my own, freely given and without inducement.

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This was a great 1st read for author James E'Toile! I wish this was a series b/c I would totally be here to follow around these 2 partners in crime fighting and their beginning love lives! I would also love to see what hijinks their mothers could get up to while they were working! This was a wild ride and shows that greed knows no bounds but sometimes the bad guys do get their comeuppance.


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ace of Greed by James L’Etoile is a fast peace detective mystery with a fantastic twist! I would say very suspenseful book. This is my first James L’Etoile book, but I believe will be not the last one! I loved that there wasn't too much "empty text" when it feels that author just trying to fill the space but the information is not beneficial to the storyline. James L’Etoile made things straightforward and provided just relevant information!

This book is about detective Emily Hunter and her partner, Javier Medina who must investigate a crime that more complicated than it's looks. As deeper Emily digs as deeper she gets sucked into the dark world of violence! And all this while she must look after her mother. I loved how the author shows the struggle to balance work and personal life! It gave me that sense of reality and made it easy to connect with the main characters. Sometimes that's the most important thing for me!

Most of the chapters are long. Good job I picked up this book on my day off so I wasn't stressed about it so much but on a busy day, when you have limited time and all you want is to squeeze in one quick chapter, it would irate me. So my advice - grab this book when you have time and don't read before bedtime as "one more chapter" will take you past midnight :D It gets better by the end of the book, and you get that feeling that you can fly through them.

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Thank you for the opportunity to read this arc in exchange for my honest review.
This is my first James L'Etoile novel. To say I am impressed is an understatement. Extraordinary writing. I loved the characters and the development of them. Being able to see them as both detectives and ordinary humans made for such a great storyline. Their partnership was amazing.
The corruption, the drama, the murder, the brick walls and the ability of Emily to go against the grain and find a way made this a real page turner.
I would love to see this become a series!

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First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, James L’Etoile, and Oceanview Publishing for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

New to the world of James L’Etoile, I eagerly reached for this police procedural. L’Etoile has a great way of setting the facts out in a blunt fashion and allowing the reader to digest things at the breakneck speed his narrative presents them on the streets of Sacramento. When a business tycoon is found murdered in his home and his wife is brutally attacked, Detectives Emily Hunter and Javier Medina arrive at the scene to investigate. Things get off to a rocky start, as both the mayor and Chief of Police seek to rush the case to closing. Hunter and Medina do not work that way, pulling up any proverbial rugs to find all the dirt. While Hunter pushes back a little too hard, it will take her diligence to get answers in a case that runs far deeper than simple murder, L’Etoile shines with this novel and sets the scene for what could be a great series.

After being called to the scene of a brutal murder and attack, Sacramento Homicide Detectives Emily Hunter and Javier Medina discover that money talks. Roger Townsend is in a pool of his blood, while his wife, Lori, is consoled by the mayor and Chief of Police. After taking some initial statements, both Hunter and Medina feel that there is more Mrs. Townsend is not sharing, but she plays the grieving widow and has powerful friends willing to play the shield. Neither detective is ready to let this go, though it is Hunter who pushes well past what some would call acceptable.

While trying to push through a case that the politically connected want closed as swiftly as they can, others hope to bury it by any means. Hunter and Medina are in the middle, trying to find justice and answer, as walls are built. Add to that, Hunter is trying to handle her ailing mother, whose mental acuity is becoming questionable.

When the detectives follow a lead that could open new motives, they are quickly shut down, especially when a homeless man is fingered as the murderer. Still, Hunter and Medina refuse to stand down and discover that there are gang ties and some crooked members of the legal community who are paving the way for a complete cover-up. As Hunter and Medina make some accusations, they find themselves threaten with suspension, though neither is concerned if it will bring about the truth. A great start in which James L’Etoile keeps the punches coming until the final reveal.

While I am not familiar with the author’s work, it did not take me long to get accustomed to his swift delivery. The narrative flows easily and quickly in a piece that evolves with every chapter. The momentum increases the more Detectives Hunter and Medina are stifled, making this one of the great police procedurals I have read in a long while.

Characters develop and evolve with ease throughout the piece adding flavouring to an already great story. I can see some great initial traits to Emily Hunter, who I surmise has a lot to offer readers should this flourish into a series. I am eager to see how things develop, as well as what Javier Medina brings to the larger series. He appears to have a great personality worth exploring as well.

The plot of a police procedural is usually quite easy to follow, though it is the stumbling blocks along the way that add greatness to the story. L’Etoile adds effective twists to keep the reader guessing and some sub-plots to entertain away from the gruesome nature of the central story. The reader can find something they enjoy and latch on, while things progress and regress throughout. I am eager to flow this series, should it happen, and will keep the author on my radar.

Kudos, Mr. L’Etoile, for being a shining beacon throughout this piece.

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When a prominent Sacramento businessman is killed and his wife injured in a brutal home invasion, Detective Emily Hunter and her partner Javier Medina are called in to investigate. At first glance, it seemed like a crime of opportunity gone wrong, but Emily soon finds there might be more to both the crime and the dead man. The high-stakes investigation also comes at a time when Emily is caring for her mother, who has early-inset Alzheimer's, and Emily struggles to balance her job with her personal life

Detectives Emily Hunter and Javier Medina are investigating the murder of Roger Townsend. Emily has also to try and balance her work and personal life as her mum has early-onset Alzheimer's. We get twist after twist in the fast=paced read. We aslo get some backstory. This is a well-written, multi=layered and action-packed read. The characters are well-developed and likeable. I loved the author's writing style.

I would like to thank #NetGalley #OceanviewPublishing and the author #JamesLEtoile for my ARC of #FaceOfGreed in exchange for an honest review.

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Terrific page turner. Just when I thought things were wrapped up something more happened. Many surprises along the way. Exciting moments. Clever murder mystery. Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary.

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This is the first book I have read by this author and really enjoyed the fast-paced detective story. This book was full of crime, corruption and betrayal with gang related violence. An extensive research project had to be completed to be able to place the clues and detectives in the right places. Impressive writing!

Emily is the main character and a very strong competitor in a male dominated world of detectives. Her and her partner Javier are called to the scene of a very prominent businessman's death. Roger's wife, Lori, had been hit over the head and unable to help with the scene investigation. Roger had been stabbed and shot. The safe randomly scrambled through leaving some valuable items behind, and clues that it was not a random act of violence. There had been a few gang-related home invasions that Sacramento had been known for. The Twists along the way will have you second guessing who to trust.
As the investigation grows stronger, they meet resistance from the police force and political influence. Greed plays a huge role as the title suggests. "Money is the root of all evil." "Cell phones should be added to that statement." It appears to be the theme lately with political influence covering corruption.
I loved the character Emily and could feel sympathy for her struggles. Her mom and a caretaker live with her to help with her dementia. She coped well to balance all she had on her and always out to prove she was one of the best detectives and deserved recognition for always doing what is right.
Thank you Netgalley and Oceanview Publishing for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Thank you Net Galley and the publisher for an ARC of this book.
This is a page turner with Emily and her partner Javier they investigate a home invasion where the man is killed and his wife injured. Emily knows there is more to this. Not long after their lawyer is killed.,
Emily also has to balance taking care of her mother with early onset dementia.
This book did not disappoint.

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Was it a random home invasion or a calculated murder plot? This is what detectives Emily Hunter and Javier Medina must figure out after a prominent San Francisco businessman is killed, and his wife injured, during a brutal attack in their home.

As Emily and her partner Javier dig deeper, it is soon evident that there is more to the story. For one thing, shortly after the first incident, the businessman's lawyer is also murdered.

And the fact that the first victim was a good friend of the Mayor's and wielded influence in high places means the case is a political hot potato, adding a further layer of complications to an already charged situation.

The novel also brings up the issue of work life balance - or the lack thereof - very nicely. The reader is given the information that Emily's mother is suffering from early onset dementia and requires constant care. This is making Emily's life very difficult. And naturally, also interfering with her focus.

This story is a well-written and fast-paced police procedural. Emily, in particular, is enormously likeable and relatable, and the chemistry between her and Javier is impressive - funny and warm without being in the least suggestive of sexual undertones. An enjoyable read, all told.

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I liked this book but I just couldn't get into the story. I didn't like the writing style but overall the story was good.

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crime-fiction, Alzheimer-victim, California, family-drama, family-dynamics, law-enforcement, murder-investigation, multiple-murder, political-corruption, politics, procedural, working-partners, suspense, wealthy, attitude-of-entitlement, new-series, first-in-series, police-detectives, prison-gangs, undercover, theft, unputdownable, battery, fast-pace, home-invasion, lawyers, coercion*****

It's tough enough to work a complicated case, but when crooked politicians ( especially the mayor) tell the police chief how to manage the case and the detectives working it there is so much more. It isn't as though Detective Emily Hunter doesn't have enough problems at home with her mother's AD worsening. Fortunately her partner Detective Javier Medina's mother is great help. The case would be a nightmare even without the political hindrances, but the due diligence and a few helpful connections do help. A great read that will make an addictive series.
I requested and received an EARC from Oceanview Publishing via NetGalley. Thank you!

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Ambition, corruption, political and greed collide in Face of Greed, a police precedural/thriller by James L’Etoile. When Detective Emily Hunter and her partner Javier Medina arrive at the scene of a deadly home invasion, they find the body of a prominent businessman, philanthropist and political fundraiser dead on the floor. His throat has been slashed and his wife is being comforted by an overly familiar Mayor. Although Hunter and Medina find links to other cases, their investigation is quickly shut down. However, they continue and what they discover is far worse than they could imagine.

Face of Greed is a page turner and, I hope, the beginning of a new series. I liked the relationship between Hunter and Medina. Emily’s problem’s with her mother’s memory loss makes her a sympathetic character, one I would like to see more of. 5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley

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Thank you NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this book ahead of time in exchange for a review. It didn't disappoint! Must read!!

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Thank you NetGalley and Oceanview Publishing for the copy of Face of Greed by James L’Etoile. I really liked the relationship between Emily and her mother and Emily’s struggle to balance her job with her personal responsibilities. I didn't connect with the crime until about the middle of the book when the story finally grabbed me. I think it took so long because I didn’t enjoy the writing style. In the end, this was a good book, just not great for me.

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What does the face of greed look like? This image stayed with me through out this novel. Written by a gifted author, this story moves quickly with realistic characters. The images are fascinating and lifelike. This book of fiction reads like nonfiction at times. Despite the interference of higher ups such as the mayor, this case is solved by talented officers. Red herrings kept me guessing, but always the face of greed kept appearing. Something about that title intrigued me. Thanks to the publisher and author for this electronic copy from Netgalley. I look forward to more novels by this author. This is a keeper.

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Face of Greed is an exciting and fast paced mystery/police procedural about a murder of a well known businessman and the brutal attack on his wife.

The two main characters a female and male detective are well developed and believable. The detectives are both struggling to balance their work and personal lives, and the difficult family dramas that affect them are ones many of us face today. The female detective’s relationship with her mother who is suffering from dementia showed sensitivity and compassion not often found in books of this genre. The depth of the writing shows the author has deep knowledge of the criminal justice system which makes the story very compelling.

The twists and turns in the story will keep you glued to the book until you finish the last word!

Thanks to NetGalley, publisher and author for the opportunity to read the book in exchange for my honest review.

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