The Splintered Paddle
An Ava Rome Mystery by Mark Troy
Review: Honolulu private investigator Ava Rome takes on the case of a prostitute being assaulted by a corrupt cop all the while being closely watched by an ex-con, who she put away twelve years earlier while an MP on a California base, in The Splintered Paddle, the first mystery in this series by Mark Troy.
Jenny Mordan met HPD detective Ron Nevez on the set of a television crime drama being filmed on the islands. Nevez was a consultant for show, but seeing an opportunity for fun and profit, decided to get involved in some of the extracurricular — and decidedly illegal — activities surrounding its production. Unfortunately for him, he was secretly photographed raping Jenny and Ava threatens to send the pictures to his wife unless he stops harassing her. So imagine Ava's surprise when Nevez is assigned to her own police case, when she reports that someone is threatening her, a man who blames Ava for losing ten years of his life behind bars and is intent on revenge.
The primary storyline of The Splintered Paddle is an intriguing one, that of ex-con Norman Traxler stalking Ava Rome and the potential information he may have surrounding the disappearance of her father before the two of them had ever met. But it is complicated, unnecessarily so, by several intersecting subplots. Too, though most of the story is told from the perspective of Ava, there are random paragraphs from Traxler's point of view, all of which could easily have been edited out with no loss of continuity. Presumably they are included to add an atmosphere of tension between the characters, but instead are merely intrusive. Indeed, and for example, it would have been far more suspenseful to have Ava come home to find out someone had been in her apartment than to have read about it several pages earlier when Traxler rifled through her belongings. Finally, there is the character of Ava Rome, who tends to act and react in an emotional and frequently irrational manner whenever something doesn't quite go her way. She's clearly a smart woman, but rarely comes across as such. A tough call overall: a good, solid storyline but one that isn't helped by its narrative structure and features a lead character, who is hard to make a connection with.
Acknowledgment: Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicity provided an ARC of The Splintered Paddle for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Splintered Paddle: Honolulu, Hawaii
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The Splintered Paddle by Mark Troy — An Ava Rome Mystery
Publisher: Five Star
Publication Date: June 2014
List Price: $25.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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