Half Cannonball! Woooo! Do you think I can cram another 26 books between now and the end of the year? Probably not, but I am aim to keep going.
I am not sure what possessed me to pick up this book. Something about it seemed familiar. I had déjà vu the entire I was reading it right until the end. I had grabbed it from a display at the library as I was heading to the checkout.
It’s a quick little murder mystery. Not usually the type of thing I read anymore, but definitely something I would have picked up in high school when I devoured mystery novels like it was a part time job. I might have read it before, but I was definitely hooked about 50 pages in and stayed invested through the entire book.
Which brings me to the déjà vu again. About halfway through the book I thought, “Good lord when was this book written?” Early nineties. Aha. I probably read this book twenty years ago (yeah, I’m old). I didn’t really remember it and it was a fun read. However, the gender and identity politics are seriously dated.
Kate Martinelli is a new promoted detective in the San Francisco PD in the homicide unit (of course.) She’s paired with a veteran antisocial lead detective. Also rather routine. And the case that they are working on, a serial killer targeting little girls is disturbing and sad.
But this book is a little more complex than the typical detective potboiler. The personal lives of the detectives is rather boring, but the eventual reveal of the true crime that is being committed is pretty unexpected. I won’t spoil it because that would suck, but I will say that you don’t actually know what is going on until about halfway through the book.
The setting for a large portion of the book is Trevor’s Road. It’s an early nineties hippie retreat for people who want to live off the grid but still want to be able to drive into the city for organic yogurt and Phish concerts. You can practically smell the patchouli and white dreadlocks. King’s description of the background characters is as vivid as her main characters, which is helpful. Sometimes a mystery writer will only focus on his or her detectives, the red herring and the murder suspect. It makes it easy to pinpoint who is the perpetrator from the first few pages. Kind of like when a familiar face appears in a tv crime show. You just know that that person has to be the suspect, if only to justify the expense of their paycheck. King is much better writer than that. She doesn’t introduce a slew of characters and start eliminating them one by one. Instead she builds a place and peoples it with realistic characters. The discovery of the perpetrator is well done and flows with the overall character development. The final part of the book is the attempts to catch the bad guy. King does a great job of creating a character who’s evil motivations are compelling while still being realistic. While still keeping in the somewhat unbelievable range which makes it easier to sleep after reading.