The Protector – Danielle Lenee Davis – 5 stars
I didn’t know I needed this until I picked it up by chance. What we have here is – dare I say it? – the best murder mystery novel I’ve ever read.
Our protagonist – Sydney Valentine – is a young-ish female detective who is not only kick-ass and great at her job, but a really beautifully rounded character, and incredibly relateable. It’s not often that a writer will divulge so much family background and non-job-related life and make it work so smoothly with the book as a whole. This writer is breaking stereotypes (except the doughnut-eating-police-officer thing) with every sentence, and I love her for it.
The book is pacy and the case original, but it was the balance between sensitivity and action that really blew me away. Ms Davis writes fantastic relationships; I don’t think I’ve ever been so emotionally invested in crime fiction before! Every character was so human, and every death was treated like a real tragedy rather than a ‘complication to the case’.
The plot is a whirlpool of completely unforeseen (or at least, unforeseen by me) twists and turns, and I was completely enraptured by the entire story. I’m still reeling from that ending!
Davis’ writing is snappy and gritty; she doesn’t shy away from difficult topics, but she never slips into the trap of being overly gruesome. As for the dialogue, there were a few instances where I felt the utterances were too clipped to feel natural, but as a whole it slipped well into the story and read smoothly.
My only question (and please bear in mind this is coming from a young British country-bumpkin) was whether it was true to life to have a network of so many broken and difficult people.
Either way, the layers of humour, profundity and accuracy made this book a brilliant read that I highly recommend. It’s an experience I’m so glad I got to enjoy.
If you’ve read this too, do let me know what you thought.
Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day!