Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Third Rail: An Eddy Harkness Novel - Rory Flynn

Summary: At crime scenes, Eddy Harkness is a human Ouija board, a brilliant young detective with a knack for finding the hidden something—cash, drugs, guns, bodies. But Eddy’s swift rise in an elite narcotics unit is derailed by the death of a Red Sox fan in the chaos of a World Series win, a death some camera-phone-wielding witnesses believe he could have prevented. Scapegoated, Eddy is exiled to his hometown just outside Boston, where he empties parking meters and struggles to redeem his disgraced family name.

Then one night Harkness’s police-issue Glock disappears. Unable to report the theft, Harkness starts a secret search—just as a string of fatal accidents lead him to uncover a new, dangerous smart drug, Third Rail. With only a plastic disc gun to protect him, Harkness begins a high-stakes investigation that leads him into the darkest corners of the city, where politicians and criminals intertwine to deadly effect.

With a textured sense of place, a nuanced protagonist, and a story that takes off from page one and culminates in a startling finale, Third Rail has all the elements of a breakout mystery success. (Summary and picture from

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Review:I read a lot of crime novels because…well…I like them. I didn’t use to think that I really liked the genre, but more and more I’ve realized that not only do I watch a lot of crime shows but when a crime novel shows up on my Goodreads list or my sister-in-law (who is a serious crime novel aficionado) recommends one to me, I’m always be excited and read it pretty much right away. I like the characters in crime novels. The main characters are usually flawed with some dramatic back-story where they’re trying to be a good guy (I haven’t read many that feature a female detective/police officer/etc.) but then something happens and that good guy-ness is challenged, even though his close friends knew the truth. So they’re a little bit of a grittier character, which is a fun change from other types of characters that I read, if for no other reason that I feel like it gives them depth and a sense of having nothing to lose. Having nothing to lose is, of course, always essentially when you’re gonna go all crazy in a crime novel situation.

Right away, one thing that set Third Rail apart is that it starts in the middle. Not in the middle of the story, per se, but in the middle of all the things going on in this guy’s life. Like you just happened to jump into a life already in progress. I’m not sure I’m explaining myself well here. So many series start at the beginning and you can tell it’s the beginning. It’s almost like the character is being born right before your eyes and the author paints this elaborate story and then you’re all caught up to speed and then you can go on.

Not with this book.

It is the first in the series, but right away it’s obvious that this guy has been living, and you’re just stepping in to catch a slice of it. And it’s a really cool, different feeling. Almost disconcerting, but not necessarily confusing. It makes it seem more realistic. I liked not knowing everything in a tell-all fact finding mission in the chapter. In this case, I liked how there were still things to be discovered later on and questions I still have. An author with less grasp on things may have made it feel like there were holes in the plot, but Rory Flynn made me feel like the answers were all there, but that they were going to be uncovered later in subsequent novels.

The main character himself is cool, and although I wouldn’t say I’ve never read another character remotely like him, I certainly think he is unique and has something to offer in the crime novels world. There are obviously more stories to hear, more adventures to go on, and some good old-fashioned crime scene drama that those who read the genre are always looking for. The story is a good one, but I don’t think it necessarily was just about a new designer drug as the title may suggest. It seemed to be more about connections between people and the seedy underbelly of Boston and I can see how this theme could extend into the rest of the series, which I will look forward to reading.

My rating: 3.5 stars

For the sensitive reader: I felt that the language, violence, and sex in this novel were on par with others in the genre.

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