Review: Eugene (Oregon) homicide detective Wade Jackson is called in to investigate the murder of a young woman, when he discovers her 3-year-old son Benjie hiding beneath the floorboards of a closet, a possible witness to the crime, in Deadly Bonds, the ninth mystery in this series by L. J. Sellers.
Benjie is scared, and bonds immediately with Jackson, who fears making matters worse for the boy by questioning him on the scene. Protocol requires Jackson to call in social services, but Benjie refuses to go with them. With no alternative available, Jackson takes Benjie home with him, though it's far from an ideal situation as he investigates the murder of Benjie's mother. And the task gets harder when his partner, Lara Evans, is reassigned to a high profile case: the death of a star college football player, who was found dead on his bathroom floor. Probably not murder, but suspicious nonetheless.
Whenever there are two storylines in a mystery that are almost certain to be connected at some point, the trick for the author is to make what is likely to be a most improbable coincidence to link them appear to be completely natural and credible. And that's the real issue here with Deadly Bonds; the connection — and there are actually two — isn't all that credible. It's not so far out of bounds that will cause readers eyes to roll, but comes really close. Other problems crop up in the narrative style. The short, to-the-point sentences in short paragraphs in (relatively) short chapters from multiple points of view come across as choppy. There aren't many anecdotal side trips here, which is good, but what is there could use a bit of descriptive color and depth. It's all very clinical. On a more positive note, the murder mystery plot is well structured and, improbable coincidences aside, the side plot does tie nicely into it. And the characters are well drawn, most especially the relationship between Jackson and Benjie, which is really quite sweet and probably the best part of the book. On balance, a positive recommendation for this series mystery, but not an overly enthusiastic one.
Acknowledgment: Thomas & Mercer provided a copy of Deadly Bonds for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Rules of Crime
Thomas & Mercer (Trade Paperback), February 2013
ISBN-13: 9781611098068; ISBN-10: 1611098068
Location(s) referenced in Deadly Bonds: Eugene, Oregon
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Deadly Bonds by L. J. Sellers — A Wade Jackson Mystery
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: August 2014
List Price: $14.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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