Two Graves by D.A. Graystone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
CAUTION: This review contains spoilers.
If you are looking for a more complex mystery/crime drama, this is your book.
From the very beginning, readers are swept into the action and yet not spared good writing: intense imagery, developed characters, and a gritty, reality-driven plot line.
Graystone's characterizations ring truer than the old detective noir novels I grew up loving, and his imagery was every bit as rich. I love a good mystery and this was it. I especially liked Mann and Dani. I am heartened to learn that Graystone is working on a sequel to this, called Too Many Graves, due out in 2012. I will definitely be reading that.
Having said that, I was slightly disappointed with the overall development of some of the antagonists in the novel. The primary "villian," Preston Peterson, starts out as a complex character but in the end becomes more of a device of his role, and his motivations never become more complex. He is developed as a realized character. Yet I would expect a realized character to take more care than to just kill lookalikes. The idea he was somehow cleansing the world was a bit overwrought in my mind with the original development of the character. The other antagonists, Flem and Angelino, were not as developed and yet the last 20% of the novel was spent resolving their connection and existence. Flem appears two or three times and only once is Angelino actually introduced as anything more than a reference.
Yet overall, I enjoyed this book. The plot was not guessable, the twists not predicted, and this is a necessity for a good mystery, in my opinion. Rather than have simplistic heroes and foils, Graystone spent time developing his characters and depicting their histories and personalities. Many lesser mysteries do not do the reader this justice.
Well done, Mr Graystone.
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