By Margaret S. Hamilton
After publication of the first two books in the Sophie Medina mystery series, Multiple Exposure (2013) and Ghost Image (2015), Ellen Crosby recently released the third in the series, Blow Up.
Her main character, Sophie Medina, is a favorite of mine, an intrepid photojournalist with well-connected friends and family in the Washington, D.C. political and social scene. In Blow Up, Sophie is a recent widow, struggling to create a new life without her husband. She relies on the support of her high school friends, Jack O’Hara, a Jesuit priest, and Grace Lowe, a journalist.
Sophie and Jack are jogging together when they discover the body of a Supreme Court Justice in an alley behind his home. Sophie dives into the murky circumstances of the Justice’s death, particularly after her informant, a young, homeless, man, is killed.
Sophie is convinced the young man told her the truth. When she searches her collection of photographs of the D.C. homeless population seeking to identify a person of interest known as “the Professor,” she is targeted in a drive-by street shooting.
Add to the mix a Russian oligarch and a woman making claims on Sophie’s grandfather’s estate, and Sophie finds herself fending off attacks on all sides. With Sophie’s determination and a few favors from her friends, justice prevails. But at what cost to her valued friendships?
Blow Up is a fast-paced read about money, power, and influence in Washington, D.C. Crosby uses local settings—the DuPont Circle and Georgetown neighborhoods, and several well-known restaurants—to enhance the narrative. I can’t wait to read the next in the series.
Readers and writers, do you prefer learning about a new location or the comfort of a location you know well?
Photos: When the book opens, Sophie is busy photographing the golden ginkgo trees in the area. They are truly magical and when I’m in DC on my annual Thanksgiving visit, I, too, photograph them on Capitol Hill and the neighborhoods in Northwest D.C.