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Cathy67

Cathy67

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No Place to Die - James L. Thane Great readable book and even more impressed for three reasons:
1. Goodreads author, James L. Thane, who is also a GR friend;
2. A debut novel; and
3. A great descriptive and enjoyable read.

Apparently Jim has a sense of humor and I let him know how funny I thought his acknowledgement was after reading it. His response was that he thought he was the only person to read acknowledgments but he did get a lot of feedback about it. Said he figured now that he wasn’t the only one to start from the beginning of a book.

Was having a conversation with fellow GR friend, Jim Andersen about how the protagonists these days, police detectives, PI’s, and others, seem to be such tortured individuals and I agreed; examples such as James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux; Lawrence Block’s Matt Scudder; John Lescroart’s Dismas Hardy; and even Robert Crais’ Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. The list can go on and on as those of us who read detective and mystery books know.

Sean Richardson, the protagonist here, is a Phoenix detective who is thankfully, not so tortured. That doesn’t mean he has no personal problems (don’t we all?) but at this time in his life he’s passed a significant personal crossroads. However, Sean is continuing to face his problems head-on while at the same time, working professionally as the lead detective in what soon becomes series of unrelated murders.

Being a woman, I’m glad to see he’s partnered with a single woman Maggie McClinton, a detective who is smart and professional as well. And she’s no wilting flower, either, can take up for herself quite nicely, thank you very much. She’s multi-ethnic, an American white mom and West Indian dad, with her skin color “light toffee.” How many women pay tanning booths good money for that skin color? All that including a “razor sharp wit.” The whole enchilada which is good, I think.

Maggie’s first partner, well, not a good match since the sloppy 50 something detective thought of her as ‘his girl’ as I recall the phase, a little demeaning, don’t you think? Demeaning for a detective who is younger, but been through the ropes with fulfilling her educational and professional requirements and completing a stint in the U.S. Army.

They make a great team with mutual respect and trust the other’s back. And thankfully, theirs is clearly professional, not in any way sexual. How refreshing is that?

Local color abounds, with descriptions of the Phoenix area including mountain sunsets and such which clearly gives the reader a sense of place. All those things I love about books set outside locales I’m not familiar with (which are numerous, by the way.) Another reason I love reading.

The plot with enough but not too many sub-plots, suits me just fine. It was at first baffling (like, how come?) but in my mind, that's a good thing. The storyline unfolds gradually as it should. At times it was even frightening (I’m squeamish, so I have to watch it with some books) but the disturbing parts are treated with sensitivity not so much “in your face” descriptions. Jim shows an incredible amount of restraint for the reader’s sensibility.

After the first 100 pages or so, I thought about how Jim’s writing was similar but not like Lawrence Block. It just reminded me of Block about 1/4 of the way through. To my pleasure, some writers give ‘a nod’ to their favorite writers in their own books and towards the end of the book Thane brought up one of Block’s books.

To say that Thane’s writing reminds me of Block’s, is quite a compliment and I certainly hope that author Jim Thane takes it as such.

Great, just great first novel, and a second coming out, I think in December. I’m buying it hardback, in part to support a great Goodreads author and secondly, because I’m sure it’s going to be just a super second read which I’m anxious to begin. Want to read more about Detectives Sean Richardson and Maggie McClinton. A great team with smarts and guts. I like that.

So please, Jim, just say 'no' to some, not all of the golf, dinner and movie invites. And the cat who interfered with your time for writing? No idea on that one.