A naked body floating face down in the murky water of Washington, D.C.’s Tidal Basin.

Author Shawn Wilson literally cuts to the chase in her intriguing debut thriller Relentless (Oceanview Publishing). No better time to turn up a dead body than in her first six lines. That this mess happens during D.C.’s cherry blossom season provides a touch of irony, to say nothing of the distractions caused by hordes of tourists.

Assigned to the case is Detective Brian “Brick” Kavanagh, a character we feel we recognize, maybe because the book is billed as “A Brick Kavanagh Mystery.” Even if this is Brick’s debut, readers will certainly be pleased at the prospect of more.

We come to know Brick (so-called for his bright-red hair) quickly and — as the list of scandalous murders around town grows — more intimately because of the unique circumstances.

A COMPELLING NEW HERO ENTERS THE CRIME GENRE

Brick, who has been with the D.C. police force for 20 years, works nonstop and would do anything to make sure a case is solved and justice is served. But when this case hits closer to home, nothing could prepare Brick for the personal and public turmoil to follow. The first dead body is soon linked to another murder that carries plenty of baggage for Brick, forcing him to push his emotions aside to keep the investigation on point.

Brick and partner/mentee Ron Hayes face distractions from internal department politics and are not convinced the right suspect has been apprehended. They blanket the city, interviewing people of interest and trying to decipher the conflicting information they are uncovering.

Another story angle involves the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which becomes key to the investigation when the citizenship of the murder victims is questioned. Bricks zero tolerance for discrimination and prejudice clashes with the priorities of some members of his department. 

A CAST OF COLORFUL CHARACTERS

Through Bricks sharp eyes and judge of character, we get to know Wilson’s rich cast of characters: Eamonn and Rory Boland of Bolands Mill, the good-natured Irish uncle and nephew who run the pub that Brick frequents daily; Lily Nguyen, the intimidating but captivating defense attorney; Travis Allen, the unfiltered, loudmouth detective that acts as the bane of Bricks existence; and Lieutenant Blancato, who seems more concerned with the forces public image than keeping sensitive matters private.

Wilson captures Bricks banter with almost everyone he meets, as well as the opinions he tends to keep to himself: Abnormal — that was easy. He saw evidence of it every day. Normal, who the hell knows? Although since he wasnt expressing these thoughts out loud, lacing them with expletives and shouting at passersby, he took that as a good sign.

In Relentless, Shawn Wilson has introduced a memorable hero, a plethora of supporting characters, and a story full of twists and turns to keep any amateur detective or criminal enthusiast on his or her toes. Brick is the kind of personality readers will look forward to seeing again and again. Hopefully we will.

Relentless is now available for purchase. Learn more about Shawn Wilson on her BookTrib author profile page.

Shawn Wilson, a New York Hudson Valley native, attended Averett College before moving to exciting Washington, D.C., where she earned a B.S. in Administration of Justice at American University. She worked for the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Attorneys Office, the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts for over 30 years, which confirmed her belief that there is more drama at the courthouse than at the Kennedy Center. Having traveled across five continents in her life, Shawn now calls Chicago home.