Plot or Premise
Cliff Janeway is a book-loving police detective, and when a down-on-his-luck bookscout gets killed in an alley, Cliff thinks he knows who did it — Jackie Newton, local sadist and suspected killer of homeless men.
What I Liked
The first half of the book has an almost “western” feel to it, with Jackie being the resident bad guy and Cliff the passing drifter who stands his ground against the bully. It has a nice feel to it, but nothing super special. Then Cliff moves into the bookworld looking for who killed Bobby the BookScout, and the book blossoms into a booklover who happens to also be a detective. It’s a fantastic world, made real with the details.
What I Didn’t Like
Jackie never seems real to me, more a caricature, and it is the bookworld that really brings it alive. Equally, there’s some romance elements that don’t really work in the story, seems more like going through the motions than immersive.
The Bottom Line (★★★★☆)
Great first book in the series, worthy of an Edgar nomination.