My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Sand Bluff Murders are set in a small fictional town in northern California. Jonas Cleary has applied for the post of detective, he likes the idea of a small sleepy town where he can settle down and hopefully start a family.
So when a dead body turns up, the first in twenty years, he’s not sure if the other officers are pulling a prank on the newbie. When the corpse proves to be real Jonas finds himself deep in his first homicide. He must try to put the pieces of the puzzle together with the help of the local townsfolk. When the body is identified they find the man was a stranger, and Jonas must try to reason what brought him to Sand Bluff.
A second dead body has Jonas trying to discover if the two murders are possibly connected or unfortunate separate cases. Fingers point in all directions for suspects, but Jonas must make up his own mind and keeping some of his cards close to his chest has it’s benefits in the end.
This story has lots of potential, I liked Jonas’ hat it had a recurring theme throughout the book. I could picture Chief Castillo, Larry and Twyla and the Whitlocks and several of the other characters, I would have loved to see a much wider and sharper use of words to describe all the characters in the book, many of the woman were described in derogatory terms which will put off female readers. There is plenty of scope to tighten much of the writing, written in the first person it is very conversational, for example “I counted about a dozen parked cars”, this would be better as “I counted a dozen parked cars”, a police officer would be astute enough to count them rather than guess.
Progress for the solving of the cases reflects the sleepy town until the end when several more police issues rise to finish in a neat ending. I would like to see another proof read of the book and a possible change to the book cover, I felt it was too busy and confused the potential buyer’s eye. As I said the book has great potential but needs a few good teaks to get it noticed in today’s very competitive market.
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