Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mystery Book Review: Death's Green Eyes by Kent Wallace

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Death's Green Eyes by Kent Wallace. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Death's Green Eyes by Kent Wallace


World Audience (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-935444-62-X (193544462X)
ISBN-13: 978-1-935444-62-6 (9781935444626)
Publication Date: December 2009
List Price: $20.00

Review: Kent Wallace's debut novel, Death's Green Eyes, is a stylish if occasionally uneven thriller featuring a "seen it all"-type character who gets involved in a murder investigation.

Wade Ellington a guy who has struggled in life and wasn't above breaking the law to get by. He's on his way to Los Angeles because a woman he once knew called to say she needed him. She sounded scared. He discovers her body in her apartment, an apparent suicide, but he doesn't buy it ... and neither do the police. Unsure why she called him, unsure it was even her, Wade wants some answers. But someone else is determined to prevent him from getting them.

The opening chapter introduces the lead character in a series of non-linear flashbacks and sets the tone for the book. The writing is generally crisp and edgy, often graphic and explicit, but also somewhat choppy; M-dashes abound, as illustrated in the this short passage from mid-way through the book:

The area code was 213 -- Los Angeles -- no surprise. Now I was nodding like the idiot boy -- a smile.

They left, and I paced -- popped another beer. I ran through some scenarios -- conversations -- approaches. I was excited but didn't want to sound it -- I knew I was at least two more beers from making a call.

When I finally did call -- three beers later -- I reached a machine. I'd only considered what I was going to say to [her] if she answered the phone -- reckoning I'd ad lib, play the magic game -- leaving a message confused me, and I hung up the phone -- then sat wondering if the receiver had disconnected before I'd uttered [a word].

At times, Death's Green Eyes risks being more style than substance, but the murder mystery plot is well conceived and played out. It's an interesting example of a noir thriller that is anything but mainstream.

Special thanks to Kent Wallace for providing a copy of Death's Green Eyes for this review.

Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Synopsis (from the publisher): Wade is knock-around guy who has done everything and seen more -- from drug smuggling to prostitution; from providing protection to those who need it, to retrieving things for people who can't go through traditional channels for help ... Ellington has thrived in society's underbelly -- mingling with hookers and hit-men, crooked cops and mafia capos ...

A desperate late night telephone call from a long ago friend and lover -- an ex-prostitute turned movie star -- throws him into a frenzied case of whodunit ...

Against his better judgment and the advice of his patrono, Ellington's conscience and unorthodox belief system force him to find the killer -- in the process he finds love and self-respect.

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