Monday, February 18, 2019

Review: My Detective

My Detective My Detective by Jeffrey Fleishman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received a free advance copy of this from NetGalley for review.

I know the dating scene can be tough, but if you’ve resorted to murder as part of your plan to hook up with your dream guy then maybe you should give Tinder another try.

Sam Carver is a LAPD homicide detective working the case of a prominent architect who got his throat cut. What Sam doesn’t know is that the killer is a beautiful woman who is infatuated with him after she read a story about him in the local paper. Dylan Cross has scores to settle and romance with Sam on her mind so she’s come up with a plan to get her revenge while stalking him.

This is kind of an odd one. I guess I’ll call it character based crime fiction because it mainly shifts first person perspective from Sam to Dylan, and through this we get their history and personalities. Sam was a bit of bohemian in his younger days, playing in rock bands and backpacking around Europe before he settled into the role of detective which is due in no small part to being haunted by the memory of his father’s murder which was never solved. Dylan was a college tennis star and rising architect in an industry dominated by men. Both have an appreciation for the finer things like classical music and art. Thanks to Dylan they’re now linked together by murder.

And that’s kind of it. There’s not really much else going on other than Dylan killing a few people, Sam going over the evidence, and then they both brood about things. There’s not much detecting going on and very little action, either. It’s also awfully one sided with Dylan knowing everything about Sam thanks to her magical hacking ability and his habit of writing down all his thoughts and feelings on his computer.

This could have worked as a thriller with some crazy stalker getting obsessed with a detective and carrying out murders to create a bizarre connection between them, but here that’s undercut because Dylan isn’t full-on crazy town banana pants. She actually has very good reason for being angry with her victims, and the plot is designed to create sympathy for her. However, her fantasies about Sam undercut it as a revenge story, too.

I also had a hard time with the lack of reality with Sam’s role as a cop in this. Even though he’s a homicide detective in a huge city he only has one case he’s working on, and Sam somehow has enough juice to refuse to work with a partner instead of being told to shut up and quit being such a diva. He tells his lieutenant that he’s going to fly to New York to interview the ex-wife of the victim, and for some reason his boss doesn't tell him to use the phone and spare the budget. There’s the trope of the lieutenant complaining about how the mayor is on his ass because of the prominent nature of the victim. It’s also never explained how Dylan knows that Sam will be the detective who works the murder in the first place, but I guess since he's apparently the only police detective in LA that it was a safe assumption.

Despite all of this, there were things in this book I liked. It’s got a nice tone to the melancholy observations about LA and modern life, and both Sam and Dylan are interesting as characters. I just wish they’d found a few more interesting things to do in a more realistic and less TV-movie-of-the-week kind of way.

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