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Nine-Tenths of the Law (Nine Lives Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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The story (minus the language) was pretty unique, and in itself gripping. It might very well have you questioning whether to turn off that hallway light at night. The descriptions are pretty graphic and there is some drug use depicted within the book. I know some people were saying the Australian slang was hard to follow but I didn’t think so. Nothing was so far out that I couldn’t deduce what the author was describing. A good book, but definitely not lighthearted.
Plot: The reader is introduced to the protagonist, Ben Ricci newly assigned homicide detective as he is forced to kill a suspect. He then discovers his reaction is, for him, unusual. Specifically recalling that cops on raids reacted differently – unashamedly scared, frightened with a talent for avoiding conflict, begrudgingly brave or “the strangest of them all, the fearless” who had nothing to overcome because their reaction resulted from “just good old-fashioned adrenalin”- fitting the last category, he was surprised to experience “a dark, dank flutter I felt before firing on the suspect”. His older partner, T. J, noticed and questioned his feeling, but was assured he was fine. Upon return to the office, the sergeant turns him over to Sala, the Internal Affairs Officer who is aware that Ben is a recovered ‘junkie’ and does not believe this third killing within a few months was necessary. T. J. insists that it was, Ben is exonerated and goes home to his wife Belinda and long-time buddie, Leo, both heavy drug/alcohol users. After his disturbing day, they persuade him to let down and just this once re-indulge with them. His relationship with Belinda appears to be largely based on a continuing sexual attention that she provides/withholds in a frustrating manner. So summarily the protagonist is: an apparent partially reformed drug/alcohol addict with marital difficulties; only partially trained as a homicide detective whose experienced partner/mentor acquires an illness that defies diagnosis; a new partner provided who also is ‘untrained’; and because of circumstances he must take the lead in a case to solve a hideous crime - disembowelment of a young man with an unidentifiable weapon that required a goodly amount of strength by the perpetrator.
Characters: Additionally contributing a murky influence upon a plot that centers on a mannequin with extremely unusual qualities: Anthony (Tony) Perugino, a powerful company executive who as a child was unable to save his best childhood friend Alice from drowning, and as an adult was bullied and beaten at work, fell in love with a woman who had a ‘nervous breakdown’ and then stalked him, followed by some similar repeat patterns, all associated with and overshadowed by supernatural occurrences; Melissa, his wife; Mitch Curtin, his partial confident/groundskeeper; Clair Haskell, his CEO; a mysterious Mrs. Lecanto, somewhat of a clairvoyant and her twin sons; Megan (Megs), Ben’s new partner, and Alice, who died at eight years of age.
Discussion: The author has provided an interesting noir mystery heavily overshadowed by the supernatural element abundantly buttressed by the actions of a number of highly psychologically disturbed and/or at least marginally psychotic individuals. It moves relatively well and no doubt is appealingly crafted for the devotee of supernatural stories, although possibly a little less so for more specifically noir genre aficionados. Regrettably this reviewer’s perhaps unfortunate pragmatic bent once again becomes apparent. I find both paranormal and especially noir mysteries quite appealing and have read a number that satisfy all of my personal criteria. The author here also has produced a most enjoyable and captivating tale. The only features that decrease the story’s enjoyment are the somewhat ‘murkiness’ of the plot and the failure to explain the murder which initiated the story; i.e., specifically why and how could it have been accomplished by the perpetrator? The ending provided was most fitting.
I thought the paranormal aspect of this story was handled with such amazing finesse. It read like something absolutely factual, rather than making me feel as if I was reading some overdone attempt at a horror story, though there was plenty about the situation you could label as horrifying. It was just very grounded. During the entire read I was jumping between the idea that we were dealing with a murderous spirit bent on possessing whatever it could to achieve what it wanted, and then wondering if these little bread crumbs were simply being used to distract from the identity of the real murderer and the circumstances that led to the violence.
There were some wonderfully creepy moments with each new revelation adding that extra layer of suspense and tension. So good. So, so good. The MC isn't necessarily someone you could consider a good guy, but the development of his character makes it difficult to do anything but like him even though he is so screwed up. His wife is a hag, by the way. I thought I'd just throw my opinion in on that wench. I think the other thing that made reading this story so effortless was the author's unique writing style. He manages to take everyday situations, whether comfortable, awkward or routine, and describe them in a way that I've never considered before which adds to the atmosphere and paints a very sharp picture of the people, activities, and mood of each scene. Here's one example of that:
"I was guessing my arrival was welcome, assuming they'd been sitting in silence, competing with each other to see whose cutlery could make the least noise."
Just little gems like that, zeroing in on a scene's mood and cuing the reader in on how to feel and what to expect without telling them to do so. I think the author's style and voice is compelling, and the characters he created were all real, easy to relate to, and hard to let go of. That ending though. Seriously! So good, but I'm wondering if this is going to be a series or if that's the end of the story. If it is the end then I find it a bit poetic, all things considered, but I hope it isn't. I hope there's more in the future.
There was lots of profanity, which I'm not a fan of, but that is a personal preference. Just a little heads up for those sensitive to it.
I highly recommend this to all paranormal mystery fans and anyone in need of a suspenseful read. You won't be disappointed with this author's ability to weave an intricate and engrossing mystery.
Most recent customer reviews
I had a hard time really getting into the story.Read more