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Joe Burgess Books In Order

Publication Order of Joe Burgess Books

Playing God (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Angel of Knowlton Park (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Redemption (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
And Grant You Peace (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Led Astray (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The name ‘Joe Burgess’ refers to a series of police procedural novels written by Kate Flora. The books follow the exploits of a police detective in Portland, Maine who solves crimes.

+The Story
Joe Burgess is ordinary, or so he would like to think. Nothing sets him apart from the crowd, except for maybe the fact that he is a police officer in Portland, Maine and he is really good at his job.

The fact that Burgess has exceptional detective skills comes back to bite him in all the wrong places when a philandering physician is found dead in his car. Burgess has no love for Steven Pleasant.

It was the negligence of Doctor Pleasant that led to the death of Burgess’ mother. The detective would have loved nothing better than to raise a toast to the Doctor’s death. But then he was assigned the case.

To make matters worse, evidence was found implicating some of Pleasant’s patients in his murder. So what should have been a straightforward ‘rendezvous with a hooker gone wrong’ scenario became a far more complicated mystery.

But the challenges did nothing to slow Burgess who refused to waver in his determination to see justice done even in light of a despicable murder victim like Steven Pleasant. Besides, Pleasant’s murder was hardly the first difficult case the detective had encountered and it wouldn’t be the last.

The Joe Burgess series is essentially spent chronicling the life of its protagonist, Joe Burgess, as he goes about solving mysteries and murders. Each novel has a crime at its center, typically a murder.

Most of the mysteries that Burgess encounters are just cases. When a crime is perpetrated and the resulting mystery proves difficult, Burgess is the man they call upon to make sense of the situation.

On occasion, Burgess will pursue the mysteries and crimes. There are situations where the detective either has a close association with the victim or he is simply driven by the unjust nature of the crime to take action where others might simply walk away.

The antagonists in play are just as varied as the crimes. Some of the killers are just ordinary individuals who were pushed too far. Others are demented villains that are out to inflict as much damage and chaos as they can before Burgess catches them.

Kate Flora, the author, does not shy away from the darker aspects of her stories. In fact, some of her books can get quite violent and raw. Flora also creates several situations that allow her to highlight social issues.

She has been known to paint the public and authoritative figures in negative colors, suggesting that only the powerful and the privileged ever receive true justice and that even the most righteous members of the public are happy to ignore the misery of the underprivileged if they prove inconvenient.

That being said, the Joe Burgess series is not necessarily dark. Flora’s protagonists often suffer and sacrifice to catch the bad guys. But the author always finds a way to inject humor into every situation.

Burgess, the hero, is a complicated fellow. As a seasoned detective, Burgess has seen a lot. And sometimes the people he couldn’t save and the cases he couldn’t crack haunt him.

But that doesn’t keep Burgess from moving forward. The detective’s most notable attribute is his strong sense of justice. His big heart won’t let Burgess walk away from the suffering of others.

The protagonist is joined in his efforts to keep Portland, Maine safe by a team of dedicated detectives whose contributions are crucial to Burgess’ work. This tends to separate the Joe Burgess series from other police procedurals.

Most detectives are brooding loners who contend with the rigors of their work in isolation. Joe Burgess wouldn’t be the detective other people think he is without his team. They watch his back and they support him even when he makes it really difficult to stay by his side.

And on his part, Burgess is very loyal to his teammates. The same cannot be said for his superiors with whom Burgess frequently butts heads.

Even though the Joe Burgess novels each feature a distinct mystery at their center, this series should be read in order. Only then can one fully appreciate the actions of its characters.

The author uses each mystery to slowly peel back the layers surrounding her hero and to reveal the gears that make Joe Burgess tick. One is unlikely to understand or enjoy the development that the character undergoes down the line if they do not know how he started.

+The Author
Kate Flora is an American author who initially worked as a lawyer. Flora started her career in the Maine Attorney General’s office. It was her job to help keep children safe from abusive parents.

She eventually abandoned the career to write. This was after her children came into the picture and she left the law to care for them.

+Playing God
No one liked Steven Pleasant. For Burgess, his beef with the doctor emerged when his negligence led to the death of the woman Burgess called mother. So detective Joe Burgess did not shed any tears when the Doctor was found in his Mercedes, his wallet gone and his pants unzipped, dead.

Everyone assumed that one of the several hookers he entertained in his car on a regular basis had put him out of his misery. But then, to his chagrin, Burgess was assigned the case and his investigation revealed that the culprit was probably someone in Pleasant’s hospital.

+Redemption
Joe Burgess wanted his picnic on a calm Columbus Day to go off without a hitch. But then a body was found in the water and Burgess was forced to abandon his plans.

The dead man was Reggie, a Vietnam War veteran that Burgess had tried to help. Reggie kept losing himself in alcohol. But Burgess never stopped trying to help him.

So when Reggie ends up dead, Burgess swears to find the culprit. He sets his sights on Reggie’s ex-wife, though the trail he eventually catches leads him into a conspiracy involving corrupt businessmen and industrial toxins.

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