Book 2: The Frailty of Flesh

“An unflinching look into the dark heart of family dysfunction, THE FRAILTY OF FLESH raises difficult questions and shuns easy answers.  Sandra Ruttan writes with passion and honesty
about every parent’s worst nightmare and the result is an emotionally wrenching experience.”

– Sean Chercover, author of TRIGGER CITY and BIG CITY, BAD BLOOD

In the aftermath of the case that reunited them, Hart and Tain find themselves standing over the body of a murdered child, just days before Christmas. The investigation takes a startling turn when the brother of the victim identifies his older sister as the killer, but there’s much more to the crime than meets the eye and when the parents receive a ransom demand for the safe return of their daughter, Hart and Tain must investigate the family and their business contacts to try to uncover what really happened and bring the missing girl home safely.

Meanwhile, when a convicted murderer is released from jail and sues everyone involved in the case – including Nolan’s father – for malicious prosecution and wrongful conviction, Nolan can’t let go of the investigation until he uncovers the truth.

What Nolan learns could destroy him, and as Hart and Tain struggle with personal issues, their case tears open wounds both old and new for both of them, and threatens to rip their lives apart.

*What are they saying?*

“Brave, dark and utterly convincing, THE FRAILTY OF FLESH is guaranteed to break the hardest of hearts.”
- Allan Guthrie,
Theakston Award-Winning Author of HARD MAN

“Ruttan’s splintered style and her three-pronged central cast create an unusually vivid crime story, with vividly rounded central characters who interact with a realism of partial truths, undisclosed agendas, poor communications, and emotional reticence: in other words, with behavior that we recognize from our own lives… 
What they discover about the crimes and criminals slowly emerges in patterns of abuse and distorted power relations within the family that are not grasped by those among the cops who are unwilling to struggle for understanding, leading to the tragic conclusions of the intersecting stories. 
Ruttan’s complex web of dialogue and narrative leads us gradually deeper into the lives of those caught up in the crime, including the detectives, creating a distinctive and potent novel 
Ruttan’s ability to pique the curiosity of the reader even about novels already read once (and even read recently) is a testament to the intricacy of her stories and the depth of her characters.” – Glenn Harper, International Noir Fiction

“(Tain) has ghosts the murdered child case brings to the surface and when it all comes together at the end … well, no spoilers here, but the novel leaves off with yet another hook to what will become the next highly anticipated installment to the series.”
- Charlie Stella

“The fallout from the last time their cases intersected still haunts the three major protagonists in this stark procedural. Each is haunted by major baggage that can’t help but affect current cases. The talented Ruttan turns a spotlight on the gritty reality of law enforcement for these Canadian constables, and the result is truly convoluted and disturbing.” 
- Romantic Times Book Reviews

“An unflinching look into the dark heart of family dysfunction, THE FRAILTY OF FLESH raises difficult questions and shuns easy answers. Sandra Ruttan writes with passion and honesty about every parent’s worst nightmare and the result is an emotionally wrenching experience.” 
- Sean Chercover, author of TRIGGER CITY and BIG CITY, BAD BLOOD

“The Frailty of Flesh is not only one of the best procedural thrillers I’ve read in a long time… but the ending knocked me right out of my seat.”
 – Russel D. McLean, Crime Scene Scotland

“Lisa Harrington has received notice that Donny Lockridge, the convicted murderer of her sixteen-year-old daughter, Hope, is up for parole, and she asks Canadian Constable Craig Nolan for help in thwarting his release.  Lockridge, convicted as a teenager, had served ten years of a twenty-year sentence, and the brutal way in which Hope had been killed is enough to convince nearly anyone that he does not deserve to walk the streets again.  The conflict for Nolan is in the fact that his own father had worked the original investigation, and was instrumental in obtaining the conviction.   

In Port Moody, in the Vancouver area, Constables Hart and Tain are handling the investigation of the violent death of a four-year-old boy, the only witness being the eleven-year-old brother of the victim, who identifies the killer as his older sister, who has disappeared.  When the parents are told what has transpired, their first reaction is to refuse to talk with the RCMP officers, and to consult with their attorney, one who is well-known to the police, and not in a good way, and who is also the attorney threatening a lawsuit for the alleged wrongful conviction of Donny Lockridge two decades ago.   

The two cases, each dealing with the violent death of a young child, have unsettling parallels.  The author details the procedural investigation with deliberation while building up suspense at the same time as the cases proceed, and the reader gradually realizes that the present case may present a crime to which there is no good solution.    

The complexity of the relationships among the players as well as the cases, past and present, are riveting.  Whatever one might guess as to where the author is taking you, nothing can prepare the reader for the shocking resolution.  One reservation:  I must admit to some confusion about the final chapters of the book, which had almost an anticlimactic feel to them.  Nonetheless, it is a great read, and I am looking forward to the next entry in the series.  The three protagonists are each skillfully drawn and certain to have Ms. Ruttan’s readers anxious to know them better, as am I.  Highly recommended.” 
- Gloria Feit, Midwest Book Review

“THE FRAILTY OF FLESHtore me asunder. Rarely has a novel of such art and skill reduced me to a wreck. It moved me in ways I didn’t even know I felt. It’s a kick in the head that is underwrit with sheer compassion.”

– Ken Bruen, Shamus Award–winning Author of The Guards