August by Jim Lusby: This troubled cop mystery just didn’t work for me

Technically, I read is as part of Fahrenbruary, but think I’ll skip the tagging and linking for obvious reasons.

AugustAugust

by Jim Lusby


Kindle Edition, 226 pg.
Fahrenheit Press, 2018
Read: February 19 – 20, 2019

It’s time for another round of, I don’t care enough about this to make too much effort, so here’s the Publisher’s blurb: (I’ve got to come up with a shorter name for that)

           Detective Sergeant Jack Mason’s search for an escaped convict is derailed by the discovery of the bodies of three teenagers in the crypt of a deconsecrated church.

Initially the case looks to be straightforward – teenage drug experimentation gone wrong, ending in a tragic double murder and suicide.

Tragic but no great mystery.

Some hope. Much to Mason’s annoyance any chance of a quick resolution become a distant hope when evidence of occult rituals are uncovered at the murder scene.

Jack Mason has no choice but to follow the case wherever it leads. As a result he finds himself embroiled in the dark underside of modern Irish society where the establishment closes ranks to ignore the spectre of institutional child abuse, where organised crime gangs operate an increasingly violent drug trade, and where populist politicians build their reputations whipping up hysteria over immigration.

As the complicated case unfolds, deeply buried memories from Mason’s past begin to resurface causing the competing demands of the investigation and his increasingly chaotic personal life to become almost overwhelming.

If the first 60% or so of the book had been as good as the last 40 I’d probably be raving about August, but I just could not connect in any way with the story, Mason or the other characters until that point — and somewhere around there it felt like the book changed and became interested in the crime, and the way that Mason’s past, the city’s elite, the crime and various gangs intersected.

But before then we got this strange combination of a new partner — with a mysterious past that’s totally unexplained (but hey, he knows a lot about occult rituals in the area), a looming threat from the regional police bureaucracy, and Mason’s self-destructive (and very unbelievable) lifestyle dominating the narrative. Maybe, maybe all of this works for other readers, but to me it felt coming in media res without ever getting the context explained to me. There’s far too much about what happened in the book that I don’t understand for me to recommend the book.

But the last part of the book redeemed the effort, and I found it compelling, so I can’t completely give a bad review to this.

—–

2 1/2 Stars

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