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Playing God

(Joe Burgess #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  394 ratings  ·  59 reviews
On an icy February night, the body of Steven Pleasant, a prominent Portland, Maine physician, grows cold in his parked Mercedes. All signs point to a john killed by a disgruntled hooker: his pants are unzipped, wallet is gone, and the good doctor has a reputation for entertaining girls in his car.

But the deeper Detective Sergeant Joe Burgess digs, the muddier the case be
Kindle Edition, 286 pages
Published May 27th 2014 by ePublishing Works! (first published February 9th 2006)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  394 ratings  ·  59 reviews

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May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kate Flora has come up with an interesting and intriguing new character in Joe Burgess...the "meanest cop in the city of Portland." Even though there was no love lost between Joe and Dr. Stephen Pleasant... he was the best detective to get the murder case since he is also Portland's number one detective. Burgess pretty much said it all when he said, "This case has everything - unhappy wife, angry ex. Hookers. Drugs. Money problems. Maybe blackmail, and a vic nobody liked, including his patients. ...more
Jan 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I ran across Books in Motion a couple of years back. They apparently got their start catering to long distance truck drivers producing some very good original audio recordings with their own stable of readers.

A prominent medical doctor is discovered dead in his Mercedes with his "ahem" at full mast and several shades of lipstick on the more sensitive portions of his anatomy. Joe Burgess, the detective catching the case, soon learns from his young second wife of his predilection for the euphemist
Judy Crudele
Takes place in Portland Maine.
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2-1/2 I liked the character, but pace was too slow for me.
Have to be honest. I’m not a big fan of police procedurals, but I did finish reading Playing God in fits and starts over several weeks. The author is very good at writing “cop speak,” the characters were okay, the plot was fairly interesting, and the Portland, Maine in winter setting worked well. The pacing seemed a little slow in places, though, especially the last couple of chapters. I really wanted to like Joe Burgess, and there was a lot to like about him. Unfortunately, his “aging hound dog ...more
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like Joe Burgess. A lot. Love the setting – Portland, Maine. A dead doctor, without compassion for anyone including his wife and especially his patients,disliked by everyone– including Joe Burgess. Various leads, including one that Burgess was a little reluctant to pursue. But listening to his mother's admonitions not to play God he's relentless in pursuit. Lots of food for thought in the way he thinks, the sorts of feelings and virtues he accepts and does not accept, and interesting thinking ...more
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What works here is a really good plot -- neither obvious nor ridiculously complex. And the procedural aspects of the story seem very authentic, both the challenges police face in solving crimes and the way they relate to each other. The writing is taut and the dialogue seems realistic.

I'm not sure that it matters whether you like Joe Burgess or not. He is, after all, a character in a story. I also did not find him to live out his image as "the meanest cop in Portland." He seems gruff, yes, but c
Colin Rochford
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Playing God by Kate Flora
A police procedural which is exciting and well written. It is a novel with a message, no, several messages. And this works. 

I have many quotes that I I'd like to share with you. 
"Burgess stomped on the brakes, the Explorer responding with orgasmic ABS shudders,”
“On a morning like this with the air so cold,  great columns of sea smoke rose off the salt water, sunlight turning it a soft golden colour, so that he might of been driving toward the gates of heaven instead of S
Matthew Cost
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Playing God; a Joe Burgess Mystery” by Kate Flora sends you on an exhausting and adrenalin thrill-ride up and down the coast of Maine. Joe is a flawed Portland homicide detective whose passions run deep. A large bear of a man carrying too much excess weight, a bad knee, and a penchant for abusing his body, Joe, with the help of colleagues good and bad, a gorgeous hooker, and a very friendly nurse must dig through the lies and deception surrounding the death of a local doctor. The man’s name was ...more
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is #1 in the Joe Burgess series. He's known as the meanest detective in Maine, and he does try to keep his emotions under control. As a protagonist, he didn't seem very likable to me, and he obviously drives himself so hard he's really a bit of a masochist. Won't allow himself sleep, or decent meals, or rest of any kind while he's on the hunt for a murderer. Annoying, actually. But there are good reasons for his personality, such as it is. And he's honest to a fault. I grew to like him ...more
Marty Langenberg
Joe Burgess! I loved his character. So human, so male, in every way. The usual cliches - ex wife, long hours, doggedly determined. None of these distracted from the excellent telling of a great yarn. Even his 'relationship' with a hooker who finally tricks him into having sex, somehow fits the man. His partners/coworkers in solving the crime are too supportive for my liking but he can't solve this one without them. The suspects are many and varied. Joe's incompetent, brown-nosing boss creates a ...more
Crystal Toller
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When a prominent physician is found dead in his car in a compromising position Joe Burgess is assigned to the case. What he discovers about this physician and the realtionship to his own mother's death, makes for an interesting read. This is the first book of the Joe Burgess series and a really good engrossing mystery. What happens to Joe and his team of detectives on this case makes the beginning of this series leaving the reader wanting to know more about Joe and his team. Highly recommend thi ...more
Chris Blackton
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actually four and a half stars. Would have been five stars except for the distracting typos. Typos don't affect the story which was very well written but they do affect the reading since you have to reread several times to figure out what it is supposed to be.
It certainly was a change from the cozy mysteries I favour, a worthwhile change. I believe this is what is referred to as "a gritty police procedural".
I highly recommend this book!
Ellen White
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author has given us a character of Joe Burgess,a cop. In Portland he is the number 1 Detective. He is like no other, he is not like others, in dress clothes, looking smart. as a detective.With Joe, he is gritty, days without sleep, he is on the edge of loosing it, if he doesn’t get some sleep, yet, he goes, if needed. The case of a known Doctor, with a side life of hookers, drugs, and zero in friends. Good series, that readers will soon be caught up in.
I never made it off the first page. There were crude references and I decided I didn't want to read another word. I even returned the Kindle version to Amazon--something I rarely do even when I hate a book. This author is not for me.
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great Story

Burgess reminds me a of another former detective from another series of books. Story was top notch but could we make Cote's a ?title more human!
I will keep reading Joe Burgess. Although I gave it three stars, it is really more a 3 3/4 Stars. Each night, I looked forward to finding out the next turn of events.
Aviar Savijon
A by the book crime drama investigation. Well written and story. I loved it!
Diane Heath
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The beginning of a new series. Joe Burgess is Portland's answer to Harry Bosch.(IMO)
He is an experienced "by the book" cop who
is good at "watching and waiting"
Effie Thompson
Not bad, but it wasn't much of a page turner for me, had to make myself read it so I could finish it.
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joe Burgess series 1-6. Gritty police procedural. Flora writes of Portland, ME
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just discovered this author on Kindle and kind of like Harry Bosch series.
Byron Hill
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Book #1 in the Detective Joe Bergess series. I was looking specifically for a series that centered in Maine. This was very good.
PLAYING GOD (Police Proc-Maine-Cont) – G+
Flora, Kate – 1st in series
Five Star, 2006- US Hardcover – ISBN: 1594144613
*** When a man is found dead in his locked car with his clothes undone and a rod shoved down his throat, Sergeant Joe Burgess is called in to investigate. The victim is prominent radiologist Dr. Steven Pleasant, who mistreated Joe’s mother. Pleasant’s name is a misnomer as Joe finds the victim had a penchant for prostitutes, selling prescription drugs, mistreating other patients an
Kathleen Hagen
Playing God, by Kate Flora, B-plus, narrated by Terry Rose, produced by Books in Motion, downloaded from

This was a good book, a stand-alone, I believe, reminiscent of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosh. The real problem with this book was the narrator. He used a cartoonish voice to denote what he was trying to imitate: the accents of those who lived in Maine. Not good imitations and quite annoying. But the book was a page-turner not to be put down. Detective Joe Burgess is a cop who won’
Sep 19, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had high hopes for this book. The author has a lot of published books, I love a good police procedural, and I love books set in various locales around the country. Unfortunately, the protagonist, Joe Burgess, is not an easy guy to like. Many cops carry demons, but they manage to stay focused on the task at hand. While Joe professes to have the right goals, he is easily distracted by his personal feelings. There were so many digressions describing his past, his difficulties connecting with peop ...more
Feb 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my Aunt Kate's books. Embarassed it took me so long to read it (sheepishness).
Things I liked:
1. The characters - interesting, nicely fleshed out. Not cliched like in a lot of mystery novels.
2. The dialogue - witty & humorous
3. The police procedures/action - realistic
4. The ending - believable, not tied up too neatly/conveniently

One thing I didn't like: too much libido. Every woman was either described as a babe or sort of dowdy. No one was plain-Jane. And the male characters were
I ran across this book and the first thing that caught my eye was it was based in Maine in Portland to be exact. It was a detective mistery which i haven't been reading a lot lately and I read another book that she co-wrote Finding Amy. I also liked that book and it wss also based in Maine.

So I just finished it and I liked it alot probably will read more of her books. Hope you will give it a shot and you don't have be from Maine. Thanks
Amber Garabrandt
I received s copy of this book from instantfreebie in return for a review. Kate Flora is a new author for me and I enjoyed the story. Burguess is an interesting character, and while his character profile was a bit jumbled I have every hope of this series becoming something special.
Burguess is working a murder case for the most hated doctors. with a plethora of twists and turns, this book keeps you guessing.
Dec 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book in the Joe Burgess series. I had read most or all of the Thea Kozak books and enjoyed them. I enjoyed the mystery and the characters but occasionally grew weary of Joe's obsession with a past case and his neglect to his safety and health. I liked it enough to continue on to the next book in this series.
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Kate Flora grew up on a chicken farm in Maine where the Friday afternoon trip to the library was the high point of her week. She dreamed of being able to create the kind of compelling, enchanting worlds of the books she disappeared into every week, but growing up in the era when “help wanted” ads were still sex-segregated, she felt her calling was to go to law school and get the job they told her ...more

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Joe Burgess (5 books)
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