Should Grace Fail

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Published by: Epicenter Press/Coffeetown Imprint
Release Date: December 8, 2020
Pages: 230
ISBN13: 9781603817684

FINALIST Foreword Indies Award 2020


When a man who saves lives has his own brutally taken, Greater Metro Detectives Erik Jansson and Deb Metzger have their strengths pushed to the limit. The murdered man rescued trafficked teen addicts from a vindictive crime boss, but he was also an alcoholic who left the police force under suspicion. Is his murderer a drug dealer, a pimp, a corrupt police colleague, all of the above? Or could the killer be a victim who lashed out at her savior?

In the mix is the imperious matriarch of a hotel chain who is blind to incidents on her properties. The best friend of the dead man yearns to help but shows up in the wrong place at the wrong time with his therapy dogs. And a biracial eighteen-year-old pianist, haunted by drug abuse, finds herself protecting a charming sweetheart from the draw of crime.

To solve the case, blunt Deb has to ingratiate herself with the hotel matriarch while resisting her attraction to the woman’s foxy assistant. Reserved Erik needs to earn the trust of a wrongfully accused teen. The detectives are pushed over a riverbank, pushed off a golf course, and pushed into a tiger enclosure. If they don’t catch the killer, the best friend and the young pianist are as good as dead. Erik and Deb, working with and against each other, must move fast before helping others proves fatal.


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This is an ambitious mystery that tackles heavy themes, such as the darkness of addiction and the fragility of human existence. Paton adroitly crafts engaging sentences that immediately hook the reader's attention."--Kirkus Reviews

Should Grace Fail is not the expected police procedural. It aims a bit higher and it succeeds as something more like literary crime fiction. What's impressive is how Paton captures a diverse array of characters, making each seem credible and fully believable. It's a good story, worth the careful reading it requires.

Should Grace Fail is a lively police procedural featuring an unusual and highly enjoyable pair of investigators. Snappy dialogue, sharp plotting, and a colorful cast of characters kept me entertained and guessing until the last page!”
Mindy Mejia, critically acclaimed author of Strike Me Down

Priscilla Paton delivers another exciting Twin Cities Mystery as she reunites detectives Deb Metzger and Eric Jansson. The partners find themselves facing a complex investigation in a novel that touches on murder, racism, and police brutality. Should Grace Fail is a timely addition to the crime fiction genre.
Elena Taylor, award-winning author of All We Buried

Should Grace Fail tackles addiction issues in a compelling way, thanks to its endearing cast.

--Foreword Reviews

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