The blood of the Sullivan family has run NYPD blue for two generations. Those who didn't become cops married them--or, like youngest daughter Bernadette, went to law school. When patriarch James "Sully" Sullivan reached mandatory retirement age, he opened a coffee shop just across the street from his old precinct house, and the Sullivans' Queens home continues to be filled with police officers and police talk.
That talk comes home in a very different way when an unfortunate encounter and a case of mistaken identity provoke a mentally fragile ex-convict--released from prison just days earlier--into a shooting spree in Sully's coffee shop, killing three police officers. In the aftermath, Bernadette comes to realize that her ideas about justice may not be the same as those of the rest of her family, and that leads her to reconsider both her career and her relationships.
Rosalind Noonan's (In a Heartbeat) The Daughter She Used to Be is both an engrossing family saga and a suspenseful legal thriller. Noonan covers a lot of narrative ground, with a large cast of characters whose situations involve morally complex issues--justice, racism, abortion, grief--as well as knotty family dynamics. There's so much going on that some threads aren't fully followed through, but Sully and Bernadette's shifting father/daughter relationship remains at the core of the story. This novel would fuel some great book-club discussions, facilitated by the helpful readers' guide provided. --Florinda Pendley Vasquez, blogger at The 3 R's Blog: Reading, 'Riting, and Randomness