This crime drama features two very unique characters: John “Smooth” McGovern, a detective on the police force, and his partner Rita “Cheeks” Goreman. They are the homicide squad and, as in real life, they are faced with budget cuts, piles of paperwork and the fact that they must move on when a case turns up dead ends, because there is always another case. No glamor here, just hard core cop story with all the reality thrown in.
We follow our detectives on three homicide cases: a strange shooting and theft, a dead body in the water with a pocket full of mystery and a very unique contract killer. The plots twist, turn and very much end with a surprise bang.
Not being one to spoil a good story, this book is a great crime drama. I liked the characters, as they were well developed and, as I said, unique. McGovern is a very likeable detective, has a personality that is charming but sharp and makes a good central character. Goreman, his partner, is aloof enough to be his partner and does not present herself as a potential love interest, which makes the working relationship solid. They have their methods down pat and they work well together.
There are two back up cops, Landry and Higgins. They are your typical detectives, doing the legwork involved in the case. They are developed enough to make them essential to the case and they are likeable figures. Sargent Mike Johns is the likeable but explosive boss of this unit, and he has all the attributes of a fiery Desk Sargent with upper management issues. I have to say I found all the main characters interesting and essential to the plot and each had their place and purpose. Very well thought out and executed.
The story is a plot within plots and is well developed and implemented. We have a murder in a garage, where a man is shot, his briefcase is stolen and his wife is left alive to tell the tale. We have a drowned man with some interesting pocket contents that leads to an intricate Ponzi scheme, and then we have a contract killer with a unique way of getting rid of his marks. The plot ties all these stories together and I was impressed with the way the story was woven, and all the little twists in the stories within the story. Mr. Thompson’s first book is amazingly interesting and well done. I was impressed with his story telling skills and his character development. In other words, I really liked the story and for a first time out, the author did very well.
What was very noticeable was the lack of proofreading and editing. The spelling errors, the misuse of words, such as his use of there when he meant their, and the formatting issues made this a little hard on the eyes for the reader. About 3/4’s of the way through the book, it seems like the author gave up proofing the book altogether. The paragraphs dissolve into run-on thoughts, like someone writing a police report. There is no structure in many stretches of the story; missing periods, commas and capitalization at the start of new sentences. The formatting also gets jumbled at the end and it was very distracting from the story itself, especially where the author wraps up the story.
I also felt the introduction was giving away too much story, and there were inconsistencies presented. Case in point – the contents of the briefcase. The introduction says the case contained a million dollars, but the story itself speculated on the contents as possibly money, at one point it was thought it was half a million, but it was never really confirmed. Just minor details, but these can be essential to the reader, and would present a more professionally-finished product if corrected.
This book would benefit from a good proofing and editing and some better formatting for the Kindle. As a first class story, this would “finish” the book and make it a first rate book all around. 3 Stars for this particular Kindle version with 5 stars for the story itself.