The Only Pure Thing
A Stuart Clay Mystery by Patrick Hyde
Review: Patrick Hyde's debut mystery, The Only Pure Thing, introduces Washington DC criminal attorney Stuart Clay who is assigned to defend Cleveland Barnes, a homeless man accused of the murder of a man whose head was found on a parking meter and whose shoes were found on Barnes' feet.
The Only Pure Thing is not a typical legal mystery … and the better for it. It's virtually impossible to predict where the plot of this book is heading, the result being the reader enjoys the journey almost as much as Stuart Clay in taking it. The ending is a bit over the top, but that's a minor flaw.
Hyde has a deft style of writing, and he vividly portrays the nation's capital from an insider perspective. In describing Barnes and the other homeless people in his sphere, he writes, "I [Stuart Clay] concluded that Cleveland didn't even know the people under the bridge. He and the others coexisted in a psychic half light, stranger to each other in a shared reality. They clung to a subterranean world the way the oppressed poor and sick cling to flawed ideas the world over. They huddled from a distance not of geography but of mind." This is powerful and perceptive prose. And in a clever nod towards the O. J. Simpson trial, he crafts the sound bite, "Bloody Ballys don't prove murder", that becomes a rallying cry for Barnes' supporters.
The Only Pure Thing is a strong start for Stuart Clay. If subsequent books share the same strength in plot and characterization, it will definitely be a series worth reading.
Acknowledgment: Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicity provided a copy of The Only Pure Thing for this review.
Review Copyright © 2006 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Only Pure Thing: Washington DC
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The Only Pure Thing by Patrick Hyde — A Stuart Clay Mystery
Publisher: Beckham Publications
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: January 2007
List Price: $14.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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