| Michael Murphy has created an entertaining read that may keep you up past your bedtime as the end approaches. I was fortunate enough to get a chance to read it early via his publishers and Net Galley.
The premise is that Jake, a former PI turned mystery writer, has been living in Florida, having fled there heartbroken after his romance with the lovely Laura ended. Now he is back in New York. Laura is a famous actress, engaged to a very wealthy man, but Jake has not come back for her; he has returned because his former partner, Mickey, has been murdered.
During the first 25% of this novel, my attention wandered. This is unusual for me, and of course not a good sign. I went back over the writing to try to diagnose why this happened, since there was no obvious problem in his plotting, setting, or character development. Finally I decided that the pace was a little slow because so much attention had been given to scene setting and the introduction of peripheral characters (who would later be very important). My advice to any reader who enjoys detective fiction is to hang in there, if you find this happening to you, because it does pick up and becomes much more engaging once the story begins to roll forward.
There is a plethora of bad guys, surprises and betrayals at every turn. Jake proves to be as tough as Sam Spade, and he is ready to give his all to protect the woman he loves, though as it turns out, she is hardly a damsel in distress; I won’t say more lest I ruin it for the reader.
If I had one piece of advice to offer this writer, it would be to use a little more subtlety. Don’t tell us how your character feels, and in particular, don’t do so repeatedly. Show us in action and dialogue. If these things are handled effectively enough, it won’t be necessary to tell us who feels what and why.
Small details I particularly enjoyed: the florist’s truck, and toward the end, the bicycle.
One thing I didn’t enjoy and didn’t need, though hardly the writer’s fault: a message repeatedly popping up on my kindle telling me that I had something on my tablet that had not been purchased at amazon, and if they were in error and it had been something of theirs, I should restart my kindle and pull it out of the archives. I blew past this message 3 times; once they totally removed my view of the text and put the home page back up. Did I mention that this was irritating, especially since Net Galley does offer the option of sending the galley straight to kindle, which is how mine got there?
Thanks for permitting this rant to interrupt my review. All told, this is a really fun story once the scene has been set and action is underway. You won’t be disappointed.