By Kathleen Kent
There are two things you need to know before reading THE DIME.
First, Dallas Police Detective Betty Rhyzyk is just the sort of person you’d enjoy going out to have Tex-Mex tacos and beer with.
She’s Polish and comes from Brooklyn and a family of cops. She’s nearly six-feet tall, has blazing red hair, and is a lesbian.
She ended up in Dallas when her girlfriend, Jacquie, a pediatric radiologist, moved back to her hometown to keep an eye on her aging mother.
The second thing you need to know is that it has a lot of gore. That’s almost a given with a story about warring drug lords and a sociopathic meth family seeking advantages in the chaos.
It’s not just the rising body count. In one scene, a generic delivery guy leaves a severed head in a box at the front door of Betty’s and Jacquie’s apartment. The sullen Russian teenager upstairs steals the box and hides it in his closet — until it starts to smell and his mother investigates.
Less than a week later, while the apartment is under police surveillance, someone enters the locked apartment and leaves a trophy from an earlier murder on Betty’s side of the bed while Jacquie sleeps.
The fact that it’s so easy to like Betty, makes it that much more horrifying and suspenseful.
You won’t find much Brooklyn versus Dallas rumble in this book. While the Dallas detectives aren’t charmed by having a woman (and a lesbian) in their midst, they are living in contemporary times and have had some training in diversity. Altogether, this is a straightforward police procedural with an interesting Texas setting.
THE DIME was nominated for an Edgar Award in 2018.
The second book in the series is THE BURN (2020).
About the Author: Kathleen Kent (1953 – )
Kathleen Kent drew on her own reaction to returning to Texas where she had grown up after 20 years in New York. She also called on the experiences of family members who are in law enforcement.
On returning to Dallas, where she now lives with her husband and son, Kent was struck by the diversity and contradictions of the city.
In addition to the Betty Rhyzyk series, Kent has written three historical novels: THE HERETIC’S DAUGHTER (2008), THE TRAITOR’S WIFE (2010) and THE OUTCASTS (2013). Her first novel, THE HERETIC’S DAUGHTER, was based on her own family history.
In addition to writing, she has worked in commodities trading and for the U. S. Department of Defense in Russia.
In March 2020, she was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters for her contribution to Texas literature.