Burcell, Robin 1960(?)–
Burcell, Robin 1960(?)–
PERSONAL: Born c. 1960; married; children: three daughters.
CAREER: Former police officer in California, beginning 1983; forensic artist; full-time writer.
AWARDS, HONORS: Barry Award for best paperback original novel, 2000, for Every Move She Makes; Anthony Award, 2002, for Fatal Truth, 2003, for Deadly Legacy.
When Midnight Comes (romance novel), HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1995.
"KATE GILLESPIE" SERIES; CRIME NOVELS
Every Move She Makes, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1999.
Fatal Truth, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Deadly Legacy, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Cold Case, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2004.
WORK IN PROGRESS: More crime novels.
SIDELIGHTS: Robin Burcell spent more than twenty years in law enforcement before embarking on a career as an author of police procedurals. Burcell's work as a police officer included patrol-car duties, hostage negotiations, domestic crime, white-collar crime, and even employment as a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) forensic artist. Burcell did not plan to become a police officer—indeed, she was surprised when she was hired as the first female officer for a small-town force in Northern California. She also did not begin her writing career with crime novels; her first book was a romance. Once she created fictitious homicide detective Kate Gillespie, however, Burcell realized that she had found a character through whom she could reveal the truth about the police work done by women. "I try to bring the adrenaline rush I've experienced on many occasions to the pages of my books," she said in an interview on the Goddess Diet Web site. "But I also try to bring the human side…. I wanted to show that you just can't turn [police work] off at the end of the day." Two of Burcell's "Kate Gillespie" novels, Fatal Truth and Deadly Legacy have won Anthony awards. The "Kate Gillespie" series makes its debut with Every Move She Makes, in which beat cop Kate overcomes numerous—and sometimes perilous—obstacles to prove her partner's innocence when his wife is murdered. Every Move She Makes introduces Kate's on-again-off-again romantic interest, Lieutenant Mike Torrance, a character who returns in subsequent installments. Lesley Lawrence, in an online review for Mystery Reader, described Kate as "an appealing heroine" who is "tough and committed." Similarly, a Publishers Weekly critic found Kate to be "a well-developed character" in a plot full of "interesting" details on police work.
As Fatal Truth begins, Kate faces a dilemma while working homicide. She arrives at a meeting with an informant only to see that informant murdered. Turning to her former partner—and to Torrance—she seeks clues that ultimately link the suspects to a scandal involving her brother. A Publishers Weekly critic liked the novel's "exhilarating action sequences," while in her review for All Readers.com, Harriet Klausner commended the book for the way it "shows the gritty work involved in policing a big city." According to an online contributor to Cozies, Capers, and Crimes, Burcell's professional background "brings authenticity and respect for law to her writing."
In Deadly Legacy Kate's resolve is tested in new ways when she investigates a former friend's murder and discovers the woman's ties to sado-masochistic prostitution. When Kate asks to be removed from the case because she has tampered with evidence, she once again must deal with Torrance, and their mutual attraction reestablishes itself. In her AllReaders.com review, Klausner praised Kate's "ethical" behavior in a novel that "provides the audience with a strong mystery." On the Crescent Blues Web site, Clint Hunter commended Deadly Legacy for its "compelling and complicated plot line."
Burcell foresees writing more novels featuring female police officers at various levels within law enforcement. With two decades of work in that field behind her, to quote Hunter on Crescent Blues, the former cop "writes with a realism achieved only through first hand experience."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Publishers Weekly, November 22, 1999, review of Every Move She Makes, p. 46; July 15, 2002, review of Fatal Truth, p. 61.
AllReaders.com, http://www.allreaders.com/ (October 20, 2005), Harriet Klausner, reviews of Fatal Truth and Deadly Legacy.
Cozies, Capers, and Crimes, http://www.coziescapersandcrimes.com/ (October 20, 2005), review of Fatal Truth.
Crescent Blues, http://www.crescentblues.com/ (October 20, 2005), Clint Hunter, reviews of Deadly Legacy and Cold Case.
Goddess Diet, http://goddessdiet.com/ (October 20, 2005), interview with Robin Burcell.
MyShelf.com, http://www.myself.com/ (October 20, 2005), Suzie Housley, review of Deadly Legacy.
Mystery Authors Online, http://www.mysteryauthorsonline.com/ (October 20, 2005), author biography.
Mystery Reader, http://www.themysteryreader.com/ (October 20, 2005), Lesley Lawrence, review of Every Move She Makes.
Robin Burcell Home Page, http://www.robinburcell.com (October 20, 2005).