Following The Scent
By Lena M. Pate
Maggie Foster does double duty for both the Dallas County morgue and as a CID photographer. She’s also trying to be a private investigator. So, her life is busy. She’s involved with: a gangster connected to human trafficking, a serial killer of coeds, gathering evidence on a cheating husband, and an enigmatic handsome man who intrudes upon her life. Are they all connected?
A lot going on here. I had to stay focused to take it all in. However, I think it’s an interesting mix of baddies up against Maggie and the good guys.
Maggie Foster: Works for the Dallas County morgue, starting a private investigator’s business, freelance photographer for the Dallas Criminal Investigations Division, short brown hair, has a brother, drives a van, lives in an apartment, owns two dogs, parents own a farm, dad fishes, mom paints, has a lack belt in martial arts
Oscar: bodyguard, chauffeur, burly, Mexican, ugly, scars and acne pits on his face
Moe: a bit overweight, cop
Larry: cop, tall, thin, wavy black hair
Ted: computer programmer, blond, geeky looking
Donald Campbell: ex military, wife murdered, auburn hair, handsome
Some characters don’t have last names. I like Moe the best. At the stressful times, I wanted to see more emotion from Maggie and have it linger through the next scenes. Most of the characters don’t exhibit enough emotion for me to get a feel for. I don’t want to spoil anything but two kidnapped girls don’t act as if they’ve been held for a long period of time. When Maggie and the two little girls are running from the bad guy, I don’t feel the fear and the exhaustion and the hardship from them while on their journey.
Sometimes the dialogue doesn’t feel natural or fitting to the situation at times. Where I would expect contractions, there aren’t any. This may be the way some people speak but it was a bit distracting. Some of the bad guy conversations aren’t natural, too wordy for menacing and murderous. Maggie, being the main character, has a distinctive voice. Moe does, too.
First person from Maggie’s POV for much of the book, third person POV from other characters in some scenes. Written in present tense. Interesting phrases: the man was ‘lower than my grandma’s panty hose crotch.’ Lots of good country or southern words. Some misspelled words and errors in grammar especially with tag lines. Lots of ‘ly’ and ‘ing’ words that could be eliminated or tightened up with the present tense style. Sometimes when using ‘ing’ words there is action where there shouldn’t or couldn’t be. ‘…he says while sipping his tea.’ No, you aren’t speaking while sipping at the same time. There’s a bit of this now and then. No profanity although there are derogatory terms used. Action is quick.