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Playing God

(Joe Burgess #1)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  499 ratings  ·  70 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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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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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
Teresa Collins
Mar 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I received a review copy from eBook Discovery through Prolific Works and this is my honest opinion. This was a really enjoyable read except for the religious profanity, but I don't like the taking of the Lord's name in vain. (I can see some of you rolling your eyes now) Luckily, I've learned to see those words coming up and not read them. (Silly, I know, but if I altogether stop reading books that use those words I'll have to stop reading. A sad commentary on the style of a majority of authors.) ...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
Mar 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Joe Burchess, homicide detective is awakened in the middle of the night, about a dead body found in a car. Now, in Maine, where lives in February it is 20 or 30 below zero.
Why would a dead body be left in a car outside? But this body is covered with lipstick kisses.

This case turns ugly fast for Joe Burchess. He's the man for the job. A suspenseful fast-paced police procedural story.

Kate Flora's writing is always brilliant. She keeps the reader sitting at the edge if their seat. The main charact
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
Mar 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
Joe Burgess is a cop in Portland, Maine. What I liked about Burgess is that we got the whole picture. We got the flaws, the passion, etc. We got to see that he was a good cop but that he was also haunted. The pace of the story was good. One thing I have noticed with Ms. Flora’s work, both with Burgess and the Thea Kozak series, is that no matter how badly injured her characters seem to be, they keep going until the job is done. This is almost comical. I appreciated how well Ms. Flora can develop ...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
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Old school hard boiled detective fiction at its finest. If you like rough and gritty detectives who don’t know how to quit until the job is done you will love Joe Burgess. A story about a truly despicable man who got murdered in a most horrible way, Playing God takes us from the crime scene to the conclusion and everywhere in between. It’s not always pretty but it is a wonderful mystery to get caught up in.
I received this book for free from eBook Discovery. I voluntarily review this book. This
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.
John Cain
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
FOR me the book was a two star maybe a three star but I int went with lower one because it seem more accurate. There was nothing bad about the book, but the characters seemed drawn form other books and not of their own making. The plot was not bad, but in the end rather unbelievable. Still I see why it would have won some awards.
I was looking for a new mystery writer to read. Not sure if I will return, but the writer kept me interested to the end.

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. ...more
T Olsen
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
As a police procedural, this story has a very good pace. It's very entertaining and easy to read, and we really get to know the characters well.
I received this book for free from eBook Discovery. I voluntarily post this review. This is my honest review.
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. ...more
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.
Vickie Martin
Too much foul language. Seriously detracts from the story.
Vivian Byfield
Dec 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A good read lovely storytelling with good characters. No happy ever after, but really gripping and engrossing read. Look forward to reading the next book in the 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

Other books in the series

Joe Burgess (7 books)
  • The Angel of Knowlton Park (Joe Burgess, #2)
  • Redemption (Joe Burgess, #3)
  • And Grant You Peace (Joe Burgess, #4)
  • Led Astray (Joe Burgess, #5)
  • A Child Shall Lead Them (Joe Burgess, #6)
  • A World of Deceit (Joe Burgess #7)

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'Tis the season of the beach read, that herald of summer sun and vacation vibes! Whether you're the type of reader who has very strict rules...
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