Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dead Connection by Charlie Price

This book had a good concept but I think it fell flat on the delivery. The truly interesting part - that part the book is really promoted to be about, was more of a back burner. If they took that concept and brought it to the front, the book would have been better.

This story has multiple main characters depending on which chapter you're reading. First there is Murray - a teenager who has the ability to talk to the dead. Then there's Deputy Gates who is investigating the disappearance of a teenager girl. There is also Janochek - the groundskeeper of the cemetery and his daughter Pearl who just wants to befriend Murray. Vern Billup is a cop with a horrible drinking problem and personal issues. Next comes Robert Barry Compton who isn't completely there for mental reasons but is working on it and holds a clue to the disappearance. All of these characters collide to unravel the truth behind the girl's disappearance, especially when Murray believes he's hearing her in the cemetery.

The book is promoted of a book about Murray, but I felt that Gates and his investigation filled up the gist of the novel. Things started out a little slow, especially since they needed to develop all of these characters. When it came to the red herring in the novel, it almost felt like the author didn't like how obvious he'd made the story, so he threw something in last minute to change the game. The whole book lead you down one path and then, all of a sudden, a light bulb goes off and you're going in another direction. Maybe that's just my opinion. A few other parts were just thrown in - like the character Frank - and then others just disappeared to be wrapped up in a bow at the end - like Gates' relationship with Compton. I would have liked more about Murray and Pearl and the dead - not necessarily more development of those characters or time with the dead but unimportant characters, just more time with them in general. I felt like the interesting things got addressed in one chapter and that was it. Gates went on and on about following leads and surveillance but not Murray looking for the strange voice he heard.

I could possibly see this becoming a series but they'll have to spend more time with Murray and the dead - which was the interesting part. The book, as a whole, was decent. I wouldn't necessarily call it "a smart, funny, and very clever page-turner" like Chris Crutcher did - because I didn't find anything particularly funny and I had no problem walking away from the story (in other words, not much of a page turner for me)- but it was okay for a mystery.

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