Review: A-List – D.P. Lyle

A-List – D.P. Lyle – 3 stars

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This book is a contemporary American murder-mystery novel, and the second in the Jake Longly series. (Thanks to Oceanview Publishing for letting me read a copy!) Here we have a high profile murder with an apparently obvious culprit, and a surprising resolution, speckled with humour, sex and showbiz. And I didn’t really like it.

Let’s do positives first: this is quick and readable, witty at times, and had a satisfactory conclusion. And can I just say, a protagonist who learns self-defence from a book is the most adorable thing.

We can’t talk about ‘A-list’, though, without talking about tautology. This book was repetitive not only semantically (I think jokes need to be delivered as quickly as possible, and NEVER twice) but thematically – the same theories and facts and clues were repeated over and over again throughout the book, to the extent that it wasn’t just unnecessary but patronising. I understand that a mystery without much evidence means everything counts for more, but readers aren’t stupid. We prefer not to have things spelled out to us!

Some of the dialogue was very stilted, and there was no character in particular that stood out to me as particularly rounded, but superficially, the story was interesting, and I didn’t work out who the murderer was until about 70% through.

I think some people will really like this book, and I’m happy for them! But I have to admit that I was very happy to finish with this, and to tend to my craving for a sentence with more than one clause.

If you’ve read this too I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day.

Dani

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Review: The Protector – Danielle Lenee Davis

The Protector – Danielle Lenee Davis – 5 stars

The Protector (DLD)

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.

To find out more about the book, the author blogs here, and you can purchase it on Amazon here. Happy reading!

If you’ve read this too, do let me know what you thought.

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day!

~Dani