Inferno (CSI Reilly Steel, #2)“The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.” – Dante Alighieri – The Comedy

I have found myself a little jewel in an author who has been around for a while, but I hadn’t had the good fortune to come across previously. Casey Hill’s CSI Reilly Steel is an honestly strong female character. No running around with guns or knives, kicking bad-guy’s behinds. Instead, Reilly is smart, dedicated, and determined, willing to work until she finds the solution to the crimes she investigates. And this crime is going to require all her dedication if she is going to be able to help detectives Chris Delaney and Pete Kennedy solve this convoluted crime.

It begins in a rather horrific manner. The body of a well-known, and well-hated, journalist is found drowned in his own septic tank. Then, as more bodies pile up, all murdered in brutal and horrific ways, Dublin goes into a panic. Who will The Punisher, as the papers are calling him, attack next? I what brutal manner will they die? One thing Reilly knows is that the murderer is absolutely meticulous. Absolutely organized. And something is so, so familiar about the scenes he so methodically designs. But what is it?

Reilly is a great character. A former California surfer girl and previous FBI ERT (Evidence Response Team) Team Leader out of the San Francisco office. She has moved to Dublin, Ireland to bring the GFU, the Garda Forensic Unit, in Dublin, up to date on sorely outdated forensic procedures. Of course, being American, and female at that, doesn’t go over well with the previous GFU leader, but be that as it may, she holds her head up and does spectacular work, no matter the idiotic behavior of some of her coworkers. She is the reason I will continue reading these stories – she is multi-layered and strong, and yet kind to everyone around her. Lovely.

The story is fast paced, wickedly clever, and a well-researched police procedural. Reilly is finally getting to know her colleagues, Delaney and Kennedy, and it is interesting to watch them begin to grow their relationships, both professionally and as possible friends. It is a well-rounded tale. This is the second in the series technically, though there is a Volume 0 Crime Scene: CSI Reilly Steel Prequel so technically it is the third. I hope to find the time (and money, of course) to be able to read them all. My only complaint? The editing is terrible so be prepared.