By Kimberly Brown

In this second Lieutenant Anson Hilderbrand book, Anson faces the mysterious murder of an old friend and fellow police officer. Of course, Anson takes the lead in the investigation, which leads him from Houston, Texas, to Los Angeles California, into the sleazy world of child pornography. It also leads him to suspect the involvement of another fellow officer, which leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth.

GRAVES, WORMS AND EPITAPHS (I love the title!) is fast paced and has a powerful, startling finish. To fulfill his sense of justice, Anson Hilderbrand makes a decision that not all cops would be strong enough to make. But, like THE DEVIL AND LIEUTENANT HILDERBRAND, Kerr does pull a few punches in GRAVES. Some of the scenes are not as developed or gritty as they could be. For example, as Anson and his fellow cops are busting the child porn ring, they break into a "performance" given by kids shipped in from California. Now, I don't want a graphic description of child pornography, and I hope most readers would not! But, the "performance" is described as follows:

"The lights were down, with two soft spots, handled by Bartlett and Kyle, focused on stage. In one spot, the young girls stood naked and in the other spot, the boys, all swaying back and forth to the rhythm of a soft rock tune."

True, since the people involved were kids (about 14 years old), this is bad, but it sounds more like a production of "Hair" than pornography. I think this scene could have been done harder, grittier, without going into graphic details. There's not even a hint that something worse than teen-agers standing on a stage swaying to a "soft rock tune" was going to happen.

In spite of a few downfalls, though, I recommend this book. In this and THE DEVIL AND LIEUTENANT HILDERBRAND, I've come to like Lt. Hilderbrand, and I want to know more about him.