The Deal Master
Review: Gerard F. Bianco's debut mystery, The Deal Master, has a compelling premise with a plot that is generally well constructed but is fundamentally flawed by dialog and prose that could have used some professional editing.
Jonathan Hamlin is a deal maker. Rather, a deal master. He is the custodian of people's hopes and dreams, what they lust for, what they desire, and what they can't live without. When a serial killer strikes New York City, Detective William Gillette, himself the son of a famous NYPD detective, is convinced that Hamlin is involved in some way. But when months go by without an arrest, Gillette is desperate to prevent another murder and strikes a deal with Hamlin to deliver the killer to him.
To Bianco's credit, all events that take place in the book, while improbable, are plausible. And the ending is especially intriguing, with the reader asking the question, "Is it possible that ..." (To add anything more would give away too much.)
The problem with The Deal Master is with the writing. This could have been a stylish, atmospheric mystery, but instead was rather pedestrian. The dialog was artificial and the prose often insipid. The use of chapter titles in mysteries is tricky: they help define the plot in juvenile books and are charming in cozies, but in serious novels they often seem out of place. In The Deal Master, they are almost comical and detract from the tone the author was trying to set.
A decidedly mixed review for The Deal Master. On the one hand, such a promising outline for a psychological thriller; on the other, a mystery that could have been and should have been better written.
Acknowledgment: Author Marketing Experts provided a copy of The Deal Master for this review.
Review Copyright © 2006 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Deal Master: New York City
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The Deal Master by Gerard F. Bianco
Publication Date: February 2006
List Price: $26.95