by Douglas Schofield
Minotaur Books, November 2017, $25.99

Agent Laura Pace takes no prisoners. From the Florida Everglades to the streets of Sicily, Customs and Border Protection Officer Laura (using the identity Sarah Lockhart) is tough and focused—a very welcome strong and complex female character. Working deep undercover for Homeland Security, she’s investigating the international maritime trade, focusing on container ships and the smuggling of Syrian refugees into Europe. But UN representative Renate Richter and a rogue priest named Gaetano Giardini surreptitiously contact her with an especially horrifying smuggling tale—they’ve discovered a baby-laundering ring, a multitiered international group that steals babies from refugees and sells them to wealthy American couples.

Killing Pace is one of those rare action-spy books whose lead character doesn’t need any help from the guys. She can break jaws and karate-kick with the best of them. Raised by her Italian grandmother, who was a survivor of the Nazi and Fascist violence of World War II, she uses her fluency in Italian to her advantage.

The layers of research that author Douglas Schofield fills the book with are fascinating as well as entertaining, as Laura learns the hard way whom she can trust. Many of the secondary characters are well-drawn, particularly Detective Scott Jardine, who isn’t sure who is telling the truth; Italian Guardia Major Marco Sinatra (no relation to Frank), who is quick to welcome Laura into his home; and creepy Roland Lewis, who gets taught a painful lesson in manners. Two warring Mafia groups also weave their way in and out of the plot. This was an interesting and fun read. I’m looking forward to another Laura Pace adventure.

Eileen Brady
Teri Duerr
November 2017
Minotaur Books

(Mystery Scene continues its ongoing series in which authors talk about their plots, characters or process.)

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