Author Peter Blauner took time off from novels to write for television, including co-executive producing Blue Bloods, but he’s returned to crime novels with Proving Ground, an urban crime drama where Brooklyn springs to life as do the characters he’d drawn.

Nathaniel Dresden’s law career can’t wipe out the memories and effects of his time in the Iraq War. He feels like he’s returned to a world he no longer recognizes.

Then Nathaniel’s father is shot and killed in Prospect Park. When he returns to Brooklyn, Natty sifts through his father’s papers, and finds in his records troubling evidence of a plot against his father.

David Dresden defended too many criminals to make NYPD happy, with his controversial activist stance adding to their ire. There are almost too many suspects who might have wanted him dead.

The detective investigating David’s murder is Lourdes Robles, working in her own shadow of disgrace. Trying to save her career, Lourdes is determined to figure out who murdered David, and who wants to keep that knowledge secret, knowing that even her colleagues are against her investigation.

The juxtaposition, and jostling against each other, between the wounded Iraqi war veteran and the brash Latina detective–two “mongrels”– make for some interesting reading and keep this successful novel character driven, even as the plot intensifies and ratchets up. The ending will surprise readers as some things will come full circe, while other do not.

Accomplished and highly readable.