Thursday, September 10, 2009
Review: Triple Play
Triple Play: a Jake Hines mystery by Elizabeth Gunn
Reasons for reading: Every year for our annual visit to Minneapolis, I try to read a Minnesotan book and this one sounded good (the latest PJ Tracy hasn't come out yet, darn it, or I'd have taken it).
Summary: "He lives just outside Minneapolis/St. Paul, where the city meets the prairie, where the winters are long, the men are rugged, and a stubborn detective with a murky past is a little out of place. But Jake Hines has to worry about more than just fitting in: there's a serial killer on the loose.The first victim was found on home plate in a neighborhood park. The next wore an old softball uniform and an obscene disfigurement. While Jake, a man who can solve any mystery except that of his own orphaned past, rummages through the dirty laundry of people's lives, a group of high-tech crime busters descends from the big city—thrilled at the chance to dance with a serial psycho. But even with a beautiful crime-scene photographer providing a major distraction, Jake takes no pleasure from this hunt. Because this killer is pulling him relentlessly toward one more murder, one more suspect, and one very bitter truth. . . . "
First line: "Come on," I said. "Let's do it now."
My thoughts: Minnesota writers always seem to write so well about Minnesota details, I love it! Just a few pages into the novel I was enjoying Jake's spot-on comments about the weather and the fact that he listens to my husband's favourite radio station, KQRS.
Jake is as Minnesotan as they come, yet his mixed-race features make people wonder about his origins. He can't help them, he doesn't know - he was abandoned as a baby and raised in foster homes. His past and his recent divorce provide some interesting colour for the character, without being too overdone and making him into a tortured, overwrought soul.
Jake is a great detective, but at first it seems he's met his match with this weird, gruesome case. And the murders are pretty awful, not for the faint-hearted or -stomached reader. I'm not a good judge, because I almost never figure out whodunnit, but I think it was a good enough twist for any avid mystery fan, too.
And there's romance, too! The book ends with a lovely date all over the Twin Cities - it was my favourite part.
The verdict: I'll be glad to read more about Jake's crime-solving talents and I want to see how his budding love affair turns out!