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NEWARK IS DESTINATION FOR TROUBLE
book review of "Eyes of the Innocent" by Brad Parks

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Date published: 1/30/2011

IMAGINE a book that melds the style of a Bob Woodward and a Janet Evanovich--and you have the flavor of "Eyes of the Innocent" by Brad Parks.

Set in Newark, N.J., it's a timely story of foreclosures and corruption with a little arson, larceny and murder on the side.

Carter Ross, returning hero from Parks' debut novel, "Faces of the Gone," is a respected investigative reporter who draws the extra-short straw of a make-work assignment on space heaters, and baby-sitting an attractive but clueless intern.

But when Ross takes Lauren, aka "Sweet Thang," to the site where a fast-moving fire killed two little boys, they find the blaze wasn't caused by a space heater.

But before they can check it out, Ross is reassigned to a bigger story--the disappearance of a city councilman long suspected of corruption.

The reader tags along with Ross's wise-cracking, tongue-in-cheek investigation as he and "Sweet Thang" chase these stories through the neighborhoods of New Jersey's biggest city.

Parks' years as a reporter shine through in his comfortable familiarity with the inner world of newspaper life. And time spent in the environs of Newark helped him cast its dwellers as recognizable characters that defy stereotyping.

"Eyes of the Innocent" is a funny, irreverent, yet intense murder thriller. Readers will find this one gritty and realistic, but tender and humorous.

Matthew J. Meyer is a freelance reviewer in Spotsylvania County.


EYES OF THE INNOCENT By Brad Parks(St. Martin's, $24.99, 304 pp.)