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The Pledge


The Pledge

I’ve really enjoyed traveling vicariously to Dallas with Kathleen Kent’s superb trilogy starring Detective Betty Rhyzyk of the Dallas Police Department. With THE PLEDGE, Kent concludes the series she began with THE DIME while giving Betty her most complex and personal case yet.
At the end of THE BURN, Betty and her partner Jackie unexpectedly welcomed a homeless and pregnant teen, Mary Grace, into their home. As this new volume opens, Mary Grace has given birth to a daughter, Elizabeth. Although she initially seemed to be embracing her role as the baby’s mother and caregiver, she has now abruptly disappeared.

"Betty’s story, particularly her vendetta against Evangeline Roy, is satisfyingly concluded by the end of THE PLEDGE."

Jackie is more than ready to apply for permanent guardianship of the child. Betty desperately wants to support her partner but isn’t quite sure she’s up to the job, especially since the baby hasn’t exactly warmed to her yet. When Mary Grace’s wealthy and powerful stepfather starts making noises about wanting custody of the girl and threatens legal action, Betty is legitimately torn about whether or not she really wants to throw their life’s savings into a custody dispute that they’re unlikely to win.
It doesn’t help that Betty’s professional life is in upheaval, too. Her partner Seth is back on the job, but it’s going to take some work to rebuild the trust between them that’s been damaged in the past. Speaking of trust, Betty has been promoted but feels increasingly alienated from her team, especially a new detective from Chicago who appears to lack all respect for his new boss. The narcotics division is investigating a Honduran gang making inroads into the Dallas narcotics scene --- with one very surprising connection to Evangeline Roy, Betty’s nemesis who seems bent on revenge for the death of her two sons.

Soon Betty --- increasingly both haunted and helped by the voice of her mentor and late uncle Benny --- is on the cusp of emotional and physical exhaustion as she contends with all of the mounting pressures, especially as it becomes clear that her family members are in grave danger.
It will probably surprise no one (at least not longtime mystery readers) that the various strands of Betty’s personal and professional crises are, in fact, related. What is surprising is the ways in which those connections play out --- and this reader, at least, was fooled more than once by the red herrings littered throughout this propulsive novel.

Betty’s story, particularly her vendetta against Evangeline Roy, is satisfyingly concluded by the end of THE PLEDGE. But Kent continues to develop her characters, including supporting players like Seth, right up until the end of the book. Readers might hold out hope that this won’t be the last time they tour the mean streets of Dallas with Detective Betty.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on November 19, 2021

The Pledge
by Kathleen Kent

  • Publication Date: November 16, 2021
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books
  • ISBN-10: 0316280453
  • ISBN-13: 9780316280457