Sunday, April 7, 2013

Key Death by Jude Hardin - Book Review

From the publisher: "He’s a world class guitarist with a crippled hand, and an ace detective with a revoked license. He has a kid in college, a wife working two jobs, and a cash-under-the-table “security consultant” gig that’s gone dry.
Nicholas Colt, it seems, has an identity crisis.
Then one night at a concert, a friend’s friend asks for help. Wanda has a terminal illness, and she wants to meet her biological father before she dies.
Unfortunately, Colt soon discovers that Phineas Carter was shot dead two years ago in his Key West apartment. Now Wanda wants Colt to investigate the murder. Determined to see justice served, she offers to send Colt to Key West for as long as it takes.
Despite protests from his wife and daughter, Colt accepts the case. Maybe it’s just what he needs to jumpstart his life. Maybe it’s his ticket back to usefulness and productivity.
Or maybe it’s a big mistake…
With a serial killer known as The Zombie on the loose, a savage beast who saws the tops of his victims’ heads off, scoops out their brains, and reassembles their skulls with Krazy Glue, Colt might be in for more than he has bargained for."

Key Death is the fourth Nicholas Colt book.  It follows in the tradition of the non-standard private detective, much like Spenser, Travis McGee, or Magnum P.I.  This is not to say it is the same or of the same quality, but Colt is not a formally trained investigator just like those others.  Anyway, I found Key Death to be an entertaining book.  The locale (mostly Key West, but other parts of Florida as well) is great.  The characters are well-drawn, although some of the secondary characters (Colt's wife, daughter) don't play much of a role.  The mystery is intriguing, with several threads pulling together

Colt is an interesting main character.  He definitely has his flaws, which gives him something to work towards overcoming.  He is smart, but doesn't always have the right answer immediately.  There are also mental and emotional consequences to the actions Colt takes, which makes everything more believable.

The book was fast-paced, with plenty of dialogue and shorter descriptive paragraphs.  I enjoyed Hardin's writing style.

The only issues I had with the book were a few instances of over-the-top violence (some of which added to the seriousness of the case) and some almost-too-descriptive sex scenes. I would be interested in reading some of the other books in this series, but if this is the norm then I'll be passing.

Overall, I would recommend this book to mystery lovers who are looking for something new, with the warning about some of the content.

I received a review copy of this book from Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review.

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