FRINGE BENEFITS by F.M. Meredith
FRINGE BENEFITS is the third book in the Rocky Bluff police department mystery series, and the first F.M. Meredith I have read. FRINGE BENEFITS reports principally on the lives of six members of the Rocky Bluff police department, others peripherally, as their lives are interwoven by shared shifts, investigations and recreation.
All in all, a fairly normal group of folks.
The prologue interjects an ugly crime which seems disconnected with the earliest chapters. From the dedication, and the passive way the book opened, I expected this story to be a politically correct view of the police, possibly with a little strait laced wisdom thrown in. But, FRINGE BENEFITS offers cops with private ambitions, cops embarrassing and frustrating other cops, and at least one cop who believes that the job supplies extra-legal fringe benefits of which he intends to take full advantage.
FRINGE BENEFITS is a light, fast, simple read; the plot has one major thread with a few very minor subplots. I think the book might have been stronger without the final two chapters, but they do not destroy the story. The interchange between the characters was pleasing; I felt warmly toward several characters (including one of the villains), though I did not feel attracted to any of them. The author did make me worry about some characters, always a good sign.
FRINGE BENEFITS has some nice consequences for the choices and decisions people make.
In stressful periods in life, a book like this could provide just the escape needed: mild with a lightly prickly and slightly titillating touch.