Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Dead Beat Scroll

The Dead Beat Scroll is the 7th August Riordan mystery by Mark Coggins. Released 16th Sept by Down & Out, it's 288 pages and available in paperback and ebook formats.

This is a very well written PI story set in modern San Francisco (despite the manual typewriter on the cover and the 'vibe' of the book). The author has an intimate familiarity with the setting, in fact the verso chapter headings are full page B&W photographs (apparently taken by the multi-talented Coggins). The plotting and story arc are precise, controlled, and well orchestrated. It's fast paced and action filled. This is a PI novel in the proud tradition of Chandler, Hammett, Runyon, and the rest.

I read this one as a standalone and it works perfectly well, with one huge caveat. There's a massive spoiler on literally the first page of the book which will overshadow the first books if one is planning on going back and reading the earlier books afterwards (I am).

This is a good one for readers who love old school gumshoe PIs which hearken back to rain-slicked mean streets of 1940s black and white cinema. There are even punch ups between the protagonist and assorted bad guys and our guy comes out on top, bruised but unbowed.

I really enjoyed this one and have sought out the earlier books. Possibly worth noting for Kindle Unlimited subscribers, the first 5 books in the series (but not this one or the previous one) are available to borrow and read included in the KU subscription.

Four stars, solidly entertaining. The photos were a nice bonus, beautiful work.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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