Sunday, November 20, 2022

The Costa Affair

The Costa Affair is a modern police procedural set in NYC and written by by Lisa Fantino. Released 18th March 2022, it's 279 pages and is available in hardcover, paperback, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. For Kindle Unlimited subscribers, this book is currently included in the KU subscription library to borrow and read for free. The first book in the series, Fractured, is also currently available on KU. 

The premise is quite promising: a disappearance in the rarefied art milieu and an impulsive female investigator with the Bronx police who sets out to solve the disappearance and uncover corruption and dark money in the high end art market with her colleagues. 

The prose is often, frankly, exceedingly purple. When reading, I felt as though the author were making a Herculean effort to remain in gritty NYC cop voice the entire time which made the whole difficult to engage with and read. There are several places where the tense shifts, which is distracting. There are malaproprisms aplenty, referring to a car as "pot-marked" and not "pock-marked", as well as several places where "your" is substituted for "you're". Most of the problems could be solved with some ruthless editing. I sincerely hope the author can find a good editor, or possibly a group of hardcore beta readers who aren't afraid to give detailed feedback.

I think the low ratings are premature and somewhat ungenerous, but not completely unwarranted since in its present form, it's unfinished and quite difficult to read. There is a fair bit of graphic violence and situational horror, and some of it is potentially triggering. It wasn't gratuitous in context, but it is brutal. The language is relatively curse free.

I'll be interested to see the development of this author in future.

Three stars.

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

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