Las Vegas Crime by Leslie Wolfe (Baxter and Holt Book # 3)


The third book in the series, Las Vegas Crime by Leslie Wolfe, starts with a kidnapping. Minutes after being dropped off at school, a young girl is abducted with brazen audacity, setting off a manic search involving the whole police force of a city that never stops moving. This isn’t just another crime to Baxter and Holt; it hits close to home.

A brazen and ruthless serial murderer targets young girls, then abandons them to die in the Mojave Desert, where they are helpless to run, scream, or defend themselves.

Now Detective Holt must make a heartbreaking choice: risk the life of an innocent girl who is his own flesh and blood, or give up everything he holds dear. In this game of life and death, the man in control is not willing to compromise; he is only willing to kill.


Despite their reputation as mavericks, Las Vegas Crime’s main characters—police detectives Jack Holt and Laura Baxter—rely heavily on the support of their agency and the FBI. Holt’s teenage daughter is among the many girls kidnapped by a local drug lord and sex trafficker, and the protagonists spend the entirety of this 295-page story, which has a rather simplistic plot, trying to rescue her with the help of a computer-savvy coworker named Fletch, a team of FBI agents, their chief, and other officers.

Leslie Wolfe did a good job in creating a believable cadre of characters.

British widow Baxter and American divorcee Holt had been working together for less than a month before they started having sexual relations in violation of department policy. They clearly wanted to be more than just friends with each other.

It’s unclear why or how having Baxter be British improves the work, beyond allowing for the inclusion of slang terms like “bollocks.” Baxter makes a superfluous (and, frankly, arsinine) remark about Holt’s “nice, tight arse” on page 22, a paragraph that is clearly written with female readers in mind.

On page 175, Baxter curiously uses the term “ass” for Holt’s “arse.” Maybe after 153 pages in Las Vegas she’s feeling a little more patriotic.

Given that kidnapping and sex trafficking appear to be the same everywhere, it’s unclear what the narrative gains by taking place in Las Vegas. But I guess there needs to be a setting for the story, so why not Las Vegas? It sounds far more interesting than if it had happened in boring old Poughkeepsie.

Perhaps some of the kidnapped females were buried alive in the city and their carcasses were later found by vultures due of the city’s proximity to the desert. But that’s not what most people picture when they hear “Las Vegas.”

The plot rolls along without a hitch until chapter 33. Holt’s daughter was taken by a drug lord, and Holt is now being kept hostage by him. Baxter, realizing she can’t do anything to assist, comes up with a scheme to save him that even she calls a “Hail Mary” because it would require a miracle to succeed.

Her scheme is ridiculous in the real world, but it’s par for the course in crime novels with strong female protagonists like Baxter.

I’ll sell you a bridge in Brooklyn if you want to know if her plan succeeds. For the rest of us, I’m afraid the story finishes with a yawn and no surprises, and that’s a shame.

Leslie Wolfe promotes herself as having “broken down barriers of traditional thrillers,” yet she doesn’t do that at all with this novel.

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