I enjoyed this mainstream crime thriller. Not my typical fair, but a good read from an indie author you probably do not want to miss. The author did a great job with characterization, he had a good plot, and the pacing was adequate (though the story would improve with a bit of cutting).
Told from several view points, Relative Sanity follows the unraveling of Nick Grimmer’s life, and consequently his friend and partner’s, after the death of a reclusive pedophile. Seemingly unrelated, Mr. Grimmer’s wife, Cass, goes into a mental breakdown, wreaking havoc on their lives. After an accident that puts Grimmer in the hospital, the story shifts to his partner’s attempt to figure out what is going on before he loses his sense of reality as well.
Though I thought this debut effort from Mr. Reaves was well done, I couldn’t help but think it could have been better. The author spends way too much time “getting to the point”. He savors the moment with a good scotch or cigar, which is fine once or twice, but got a bit old and seemed to weigh the story down. I would have liked less of the ‘savor the moment’ sort of passages, and more of the background on what would drive a woman to give up her only child. That part just didn’t jive with me, and since we learn it second-hand from her friend, it didn’t ring true either.
I also felt that the characters’ faith in a god was put on like an added window dressing. Each of the characters evoked god’s name in prayer or in their thoughts, but whether that god helped or guided any of them remained a mystery (as in life?) nor did their belief in that god drive the plot in any way that I could see (other than one instance near the end that ringed more of WTF? than guided-by-the-hand-of-god sort of thing). I’m not sure if the author had a message to include in this book about a god or lack of one, but the characters did seem to all believe in one, though instances of their god helping them weren’t highlighted in the story. Or, if they were, I missed it.
Other than that ambiguity, which may have been deliberate, and the slow pacing, I found Relative Sanity to be a very promising effort and I look forward to reading more from this author.
- Meet Martin Reaves (bruceblake.wordpress.com)