This is my second Tyler Dilts book and before I get into the review I just want to acknowledge that Dilts’ book titles are fantastic, lifted from brilliant quotes tied to the theme, and his music tastes are impeccable. If I ever write a book I want Tyler Dilts to name it and make me a mix tape.
Detective Danny Beckett is a thoughtful and diligent cop, haunted by the violence he has seen on the job and the loss of his wife. He can barely sleep for the nightmares and settles himself a little to frequently with vodka. Neither of these things are out of control, but you get the sense that Beckett is on the precipice and only the job and his partner, Detective Jen Tanaka, keep him from giving in.
Generally in a mystery/crime novel I get pretty disappointed if I can identify the killer in the first interview. While I think Dilts played his hand too early, this isn’t a book which relies on the collar for the drama. The characters, especially Beckett, are so well written that it is the methodical, procedural working of the case that sells the story. The work is hard, slow, and takes its toll. I think it is easy to render a detective who stands as witness for the victim as a sap, or a tired trope of the genre, but Detective Danny Beckett’s portrayal feels sincere. There is an honesty and integrity in the Long Beach Homocide novels which makes them well worth recommending.
Also check out my review of A Cold and Broken Hallelujah [Long Beach Homicide #3] which made my Best of Realistic Fiction: 2014 list.