A Blake Dent Mystery
by Ryan Casey
Another free ebook from Amazon's Kindle shop, this one could not be more different from my previous read (see one post back).
Not only because I was back for my usual reading language English after a brief German interlude, but also because of the whole setting, story, style - everything, really.
Blake Dent officially runs a smoothie stall in Preston, a not very attractive sounding town in England (I wonder if the real Preston in Lancashire is meant).
He comes up with overly creative concoctions, such as the name-giving Bugglegum Smoothie, which results not only in some of his customers developing severe allergic reactions but also in his smoothie stall being closed down by the authorities.
Good job then that just at that time, he has an offer to work again at his other, not official job as a bounty hunter for the police.
Only the lure of the large sum promised (inofficially, of course) makes him agree, and also the fact that he really does not have much of a choice because a dark spot in his past threatens to resurface.
With the help of his friend Martha (formerly Martin), Blake catches the sadistic murderer just before he can complete his plan of killing two more people after the five lives he has already taken.
Blake's methods are as unconventional as his life: in his mid-thirties (I think), people expect him to "settle down", when all he is interested in is buying more of the latest models of TVs, mobile phones, tablet PCs and other gadgets.
During the investigation (which puts Blake himself and Martha in danger, too) his priorities slowly start to shift. Since this is the first book of a series, I expect that some of the loose threads here will be picked up again and developed further in the next books.
I did not like Blake as a person all that much, but he had charm and I certainly wanted to know how and when he was going to solve the case. Also, the change of perspective (chapters written from Blake's point of view alternating with the murderer's) was well done, and the author managed to keep tension up until the end.
The sadistic murders are described without going into too much gorey detail - although they make for hard reading and I usually don't like this when I want to read just for entertainment on a train ride or at night. Still, with the characters well fleshed out and the story being interesting enough, I liked this book. Maybe not enough to actively look for more of the series, but certainly not minding if I should happen to come across another (free) one.
Learn more about the author and his books here, if you like.