For the last 48 hours, I’ve been convinced that something was wrong with me, that the other shoe would drop and I would start thinking about this book differently.
I picked it up because it’s the first in a series that was lauded by an author I like (although apparently he read others in the series and has yet to get to this one). The reviews on it were less than stellar but the premise hooked me: overworked bartender falls into political conspiracy Hitchock-style, has to work to extricate herself.
So I started out really liking it. The dialogue, the character, the well-described Staten Island setting.
But I was wondering Would the characters feel too thin? Would a man writing a first person female character eventually irk me one way or another?
Neither of those things happened.
What about after the major crime was committed? Would the story lose steam or the plot stretch credulity?
Nada. I was still rolling with it.
Okay, we’re near the end now. Expecting something rote and cliched. Yes?
Nope. Okay, perhaps a little cliched but it would have been tough for it to finish with a unique ending given that it’s the first in the series.
Bottom line is, this one bangs from start to finish. I like the lead. I think Bill Loefhelm understands bar/server culture well (anyone whose worked in the service industry will appreciate it). I think he created a great setting for a mystery, gave life to Staten Island in a neat way, wrote a compelling lead female character who is allowed to be simultaneously vulnerable and brave. This is one of the best mystery/thriller books I’ve read the last few years, certainly in my top 3 this year. It’s excellent. The other shoe never dropped. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. Though I wish it wasn’t moving to New Orleans, as much as I love that city. Loehfelm does Staten Island well.