And so we bring this Book Tour stop to the point where the material wasn’t pre-made, here are my thoughts on the novel. Short version: I enjoyed it.
by Robert Germaux
Series: A Daniel Hays Mystery, Book 2
Kindle Edition, 342 pg.
Read: July 12 – 13, 2017
Daniel Hays and his Special Assignment Squad — a Major Crimes squad set up to help smaller cities in the county around Pittsburgh — haven’t had a lot to do since being formed. That changes when the chief him Hampton Township has a strange homicide show up. He doesn’t need the help necessarily, but is concerned that the strangeness of the murder indicates that there could be something “big” coming. Another few homicides (at least) with the same strange element.
There’s a note left on the corpse, it reads “Blue is Better” and has a big, red check mark underneath. Daniel and his partner agree, they probably don’t need to be involved, but should be familiar with the investigation, just in case.
Good thing, too — because one week later in a very different part of the county, here’s another murder. With another note. Now things are getting serious and the SAS has to jump into action.
There’s no connection between the victims that they can find, no clues, no anything for them to go on. Just the notes, and repeated homicides on Fridays.
From there, we get an interesting twist or two there, some wrong turns, until after a lucky stroke, all the pieces fall together.
The characters are nice to spend time with, professionals who get along and work for the common good. They could possibly be a little more interesting if they were a little less professional, if there were a glitch or two in the teamwork. One by One falls into something like a “blue-sky” drama on TV — like NCIS, Burn Notice or White Collar, not the grittier Homicide, The Wire, or Bosch. This is not a dig at One by One to compare it to those shows — people love them, I’ve watched every episode of NCIS and enjoyed over 87% of them. But readers should go into this with eyes open — just because it’s a detective squad working multiple homicides, don’t go in expecting Michael Connelly, Owen Laukkanen, or Ian Rankin — expect Chris Grabenstein, David Rosenfelt, Aaron J. Elkins (check my archives, you’ll see that I’ve really enjoyed all those authors — again, this isn’t a knock, this is me describing where this belongs on a spectrum).
That said, Germaux could’ve given us a little more sense of urgency, had the characters seem less casual in their approach to this work. They did a lot of run of the mill, interviews with people that didn’t get them anywhere — even just showing more of that, would’ve been something. Maybe all of the smaller departments weren’t as cooperative with the task force. It wouldn’t have to be much, the book could’ve used a little something to intensify the drama. This was a good read, a light and enjoyable mystery; it’s thiiis close to me saying it’s a must read, but instead, I’ll leave it as a good read. You will enjoy it.This is a quick, easy story with a nice puzzle and some charming characters. I planned on reading the previous novel in the series, Small Talk, I just hadn’t got around to it — I’m going to work a little harder on that now.
If nothing else, read it for the recommendation on your new favorite version of “Over the Rainbow.” Wow.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my participation in the Book Tour.