Thursday, May 25, 2006

Mystery Book Review: The Deal Master by Gerard F. Bianco

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has published its review of The Deal Master by Gerard F. Bianco on its website. For our blog readers, it is reprinted here in its entirety.

The Deal Master by Gerald F. BiancoSynopsis (from the publisher): In New York City, women with red hair are being brutally murdered. Detective William Gillette and his team are on the case, but they remain clueless until a curious stranger proposes a series of tempting deals—an exchange of sorts—that will help solve the crimes.

Gillette accepts the offer and plunges into the game. One deal after the next, he draws closer to the killer. But each deal comes with a price. Soon the detective finds himself in a dark hole—one he can’t get out of without striking the ultimate deal. Is the Deal Master Gillette’s savior—or his worst nightmare?

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.

Special thanks to Author Marketing Experts for providing a copy of The Deal Master for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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