By Larry Darter
Ben Malone, P.I., is on the case of an escort who needs protection from a crime lord because she witnessed the murder of one of her clients. At least...that’s what she claims. When Malone accepts the case, he finds more than murder, he finds more murder, and narcotics, and human trafficking. And lies. Soon, he and his girlfriend are in danger. He’ll have to think fast to come out of this one alive.
I think it’s a good plot. There is a lot going on here with just enough complexities and twists to keep it interesting. Plot-wise.
Ben Malone: Private investigator, former homicide investigator, former Army, drives a Toyota Camry
Evania Sterling: escort, married, blonde, blue eyes, tall, drives a BMW Z4
Jaime Reyes: homicide investigator, has a sister
Nick Makara: white hair, portly, sixties, golfer, owns a shipping company
These are the main characters along with Sara, Ben’s girlfriend who is a psychiatrist. Coincidentally, at the same time I was reading this, I was listening to a Spenser novel and there are similarities between the characters. All Darter had to do was put in a large black man to accompany Malone...well, anyway…
The characters are fine. I think they’re well rounded with enough background information and descriptions. I thought Malone wasn’t as serious at the beginning as he might have been, but that could be his nature.
A lot of people don’t use contractions and it was enough to be noticeable and seem unnatural. Otherwise, the conversations went well. A bit long in the scenes with the FBI.
First person from Malone’s POV. Profanity. Small to medium-sized words are incorrect in many sentences.
The biggest problem I had with this is that although the book is a longer one than usual, it’s a fast read. The reason it’s lengthy is there’s a lot of unnecessary repetition and unnecessary information.
Example: Malone goes through a lot of adventure with Evania and Makara and when he finally gets around to spilling the story to Reyes, he spills it all. What I mean is, the author had more than a summary of every single scene when Malone relates the story to Reyes. I’m thinking, “Get on with it!” This lengthy diatribe could have been neatly summarized in about three paragraphs.
Example: There’s a lot of repetition of previous events when discussing things with the FBI.
Example: Evania’s story near the end was too long. After a bunch of slow time, this is an obvious filler before the climax.
Example: There is a scene detailing a meal. Do something with a chicken, cut up veggies, do something else with the chicken, grab a bowl for salad, do something else with the chicken...and so on. This and many other scenes tended to drag down the story. There is a lot of filler between the action parts and meeting with the FBI and before the showdown.
Speaking of the climax – it was anti-climactic. Little action and it ends quickly. Too quickly for the long set up.
Another problem is when Malone rescues Sara and they and Reyes are deciding their next plan of action, Malone cautions Sara not to be going out because he doesn’t want the bad guys to know she’s been rescued. A few minutes later, they all decide to go out to lunch...on a restaurant patio. What happened to being worried about being out in public?
A good plot, but some of the writing needed to be a lot tighter...and shorter.