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The Pain Scale (Long Beach Homicide) [Kindle Edition]

Tyler Dilts
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Long Beach homicide detective Danny Beckett returns from a year-long medical leave badly scarred and in constant pain, yet determined to prove he still has what it takes to do the job. He gets his chance when a call comes in that shocks even the toughest guys in the squad room: A California congressman’s daughter-in-law and grandchildren have been brutally murdered in their upscale home. At first glance, it looks like a robbery gone wrong, but Danny’s not so sure. Something doesn’t quite add up. With state and local law enforcement in an uproar and the media circling like vultures, the pressure’s on for Danny and his partner, Jennifer Tanaka, to solve this one. Too much is at stake…and not just politically. Even if they manage to crack the case, there’s no guarantee the stress won’t derail Danny’s recovery. Because while the doctors can treat his physical pain, no one can erase the agony of the past that haunts every step he takes—and threatens to destroy his career once and for all.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

As a child, Tyler Dilts dreamed of following in the footsteps of his policeman father. Though his career goals changed over time, he never lost interest in the daily work of homicide detectives. Today he teaches at California State University in Long Beach, and his writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Best American Mystery Stories, and numerous other publications. He is the author of A King of Infinite Space, the first in the Danny Beckett series.

Product Details

  • File Size: 473 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1612186025
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (October 30, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0089LQNFS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,653 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
137 of 140 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Book Measures Up Well November 2, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have become somewhat disillusioned with the quality of books that focus on crime investigation and was not expecting a great deal from this one. "The Pain Scale" turned out to be a well written tale. The characters are believable and multi-dimensional. Despite not having read the first book in the series, the author smoothly got me caught up. Mr. Dilts has an intelligent style of writing that does not attempt to imitate anyone else nor is the plot a thinly veiled rewrite of headline news. NPR was plugged intensely but inoffensively and there was a pleasant absence of the steamy sex that authors seem to feel compelled to include. Engaging and worth reading.
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63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Pain Scale by Tyler Dilts is an intriguing and skillful mystery with character development that is impressive. It focuses on Long Beach California Homocide Detective Danny Beckett who, with his partner, Jen Tanaka, are trying to solve a heinous crime.

A brutal crime has taken place in a ritzy area of Brentwood and a mother and her two children have been murdered. The mother was sexually tortured prior to her murder and the children were each shot to death. The types of crimes that Danny deals with torture him. He not only deals with psychic pain but with physical pain.

"Pain is relative. It's been years since I've been able to sleep through the night on any kind of a regular basis. Even before I nearly lost my hand, I was already in a kind of pain. My wife burned to death in a car accident a few years ago. I've killed two teenagers in the line of duty. And as I've already mentioned, I've been obsessing over homicides for more than a decade."

In the first book of this series, Danny nearly lost his hand while trying to solve a case. He has had several operations for this injury. He treats his excruciating and chronic pain with Vicodin and Grey Goose Vodka. As he says, "pain does strange things to you...And to live in pain is to encounter the darkest possibilities of your imagination. When you do what I do every day, those possibilities are very dark indeed." He goes to a pain therapist who suggests he practice visualization but he finds that his pain lessens when he is on the job and absorbed with his work.

The chapters are not chronological. Rather, they are numbered according to the pain level that Danny is experiencing. The Pain Scale goes from one to ten, with ten being the most severe.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced and Interesting Premise November 20, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I liked this book from the start and worried it was going to run out of steam but it never did. The hero is a Long Beach detective just back from a long convalescence leave. He and his partner get right into a convoluted, high profile murder. As the story progressed with twists and turns and the cast of characters grew I was sure it was all going to get blurry but it never did. I have been universally disappointed by grads of the Iowa Writer's Workshop and this guy learned his craft at Long Beach State's program so I was sure he was going to screw up. But the story held up to the end. Readers who are local cops will especially like the story because when the FBI comes in they wind up getting their just desserts. The pain in the title refers to the chronic pain that the hero suffers because of his line of duty injury that was presumably described in the first book in the series. He lives on a diet of Stoly, Vicodin and 2-3 hours of fitful sleep a night. The near constant identical references to the pain did little for the story and got old very quickly.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rated on the pain scale November 15, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
because this is an emotionally painful least for me. I struggled with my rating. It is not great literature but is well written with few editing errors that I noticed. The structure is unique and interesting.......I actually learned something about chronic pain! And I enjoyed the characters, even though I began getting very confused as book reached toward an ending. Ah, there's the rub. I found myself audibly asking the news reporter's stock questions: who? what? why? The crime itself was shockingly horrid, graphic, horrendous, graphic beyond belief....and I am a S. King fan! But the book is well written enough that I was drawn in and managed to get passed that, only to get to one of the most frustrating and puzzling conclusions I have EVER read. Pardon my language but.....WTF? Thus the 3 stars. Lacked clarity, explanation, reasoning, satisfaction for a difficult time well spent. Would I recommend it? Did, to my pain doctor LOL, but with strong reservations. And I did go back to download the author's first book!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars California Noir November 16, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Tyler Dilts makes good use of traditional noir boilerplates, upending readers' expectations in ways that keep us wanting to pay attention. Instead of relying on our familiarity with traditions, like the sarcastic loner hero and the villain for hire, he creates them anew, giving us characters who want to rejoin the human race, but for whatever reason cannot. His attempts to imbue old stereotypes with new motivations revive the noir tradition for today's generation.

Detective Beckett doesn't want to hold the human race at arm's length. He remains friends with an old case witness, tries to keep good working relations with his fellow LBPD detectives, and has a puckish sense of humor. And he isn't a conscious "man outside his time." He reads widely, savvies technology, and gets liberal arts in-jokes. His learned indie hipster persona resembles nothing so much as, well, me.

But his personal history is studded with suffering. He lost both his father and his wife violently, which plagues him, but also gives him remarkable sympathy for the victims he must investigate. His last major case left him a scar running the length of his left arm, so pain marks every moment of his life. In other words, unlike your typical smart-mouthed noir hero, Beckett has unusual cause to fend off the world with sarcasm and arrogance.

Also unlike typical noir heroes, Beckett understands himself as damaged. Where Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe think themselves honorable for alienating others and nursing grudges, Beckett realizes the trials he puts others through. He tries to make amends, but finds himself impeded by his constant pain, which prompts him to lash out at the worst possible moments. This alternating presence and absence of awareness gives Beckett's edge real human dimension.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery/suspense novel
new author for me. I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery/suspense novel.
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Sophomore Effort
I read this book first, then picked up the author's first book and read it second - and wish I'd read them in reverse - that is, the first book first. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Numinous Dreamer
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice continuation of the Danny Beckett series
Really good writing and interesting characters. Nice social commentary and convincing situations. A fun read. Can't wait for the next book.
Published 1 month ago by Matt
5.0 out of 5 stars Police procedural with a different take
If you like police procedural type mysteries, this was really good. I normally read a lot of urban fiction and urban fantasy, and I really enjoyed this. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Charlotte
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, interesting characters
Dilts manages to tell an intricate crime story while focusing on the human qualities of his characters. Fantastic read. Read more
Published 1 month ago by James Haendiges
4.0 out of 5 stars Very tough to put down once you start......
As a native of southern calf. I was with them on every street and restaurant, wonderful visual effect for reading.. Read more
Published 3 months ago by jim harper
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book
This was the first time I've read this author. This was a very good book. I'm a detective/forensics story fan and it kept my interest. Will read more by this author
Published 3 months ago by janice baum
3.0 out of 5 stars All kinds of pain on the scale.
Fairly good book. Could relate to the title as I have arthritis, but actually there are so many forms of pain and maybe the scale should go a little higher...say 20?? Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jan Funk
4.0 out of 5 stars Good start
I got this because I grew up in Long Beach and my father was a professor at the same university as the author for many years. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Bookaholic
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read
I enjoyed this book very much. It kept my interest throughout the whole book and the characters were very believable.
Published 4 months ago by Smwh
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More About the Author

Tyler Dilts grew up in Southern California and received his MFA from California State University, Long Beach, where he now teaches. His writing has appeared in THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCTION, THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES, and in numerous other publications. A KING OF INFINITE SPACE is his first novel. You can contact him online at And you may even run into him, awake in the darkness, long after midnight, somewhere in Long Beach.

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