B.O.Q.: An NCIS Special Agent Fran Setliff Novel by N.P. Simpson
Reviewed by Raul
For fans of military detective fiction, Simpson provides both a great new detective and a politically sensitive mystery. If you are unaware, there is a special agency that investigates crimes on Marine bases, namely the Naval Criminal Investigative Service – NCIS for short. There are the popular CBS shows with the same name, but this book delves into the life and dealings of Special Agent Fran Setliff as she investigates the suspicious death of Ann Buckhalter, the wife of a retired colonel and journalist.
Former members of the military will find much to enjoy in Simpson’s book. Not only does the murder happen at Camp Lejeune – the largest Marine base in the world – where the reader familiar with the camp will note areas and places that really exist, there is much detail illustrating the hierarchy set up for military men and women and their spouses and children. The title, B.O.Q. refers to “Bachelor Officers’ Quarters” where family of retired officers can stay when visiting a base. There are strict protocols that need to be followed: dress codes at the PX, who can say what to the media and more importantly when they can say anything at all, chain of command, and various other abbreviations and acronyms that will be familiar to former Marines. Simpson understands the temperament of Marines, and this shows on every page.
What drives the story is the strong character Simpson sets up in Setliff. She is a woman who has to succeed in a male dominated world, so she is tough and determined. As she investigates, she has to confront racial and gender discrimination, sexual indiscretions and unethical medical practices; in short, all the unspoken things that occur in the military. Simpson handles the divide between loyalty to military ideals and seeking justice well; one hopes for more mysteries from this author who has a genuine respect for both.
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