The Hunt For The Dingo
By P. J. Nash
Years ago a serial killer dubbed the Dingo, terrorized the Northern Territory of Australia.
On a routine investigation a Constable discovers the body of a young woman with the same signatures as the other victims. Is the Dingo back? Lawrence James, ex British cop and top investigator, is called in. With the help of Jesse Sanders, a criminal psychologist, and an ex reporter, he’ll sort through previous cases and current evidence to track down a murderer.
However, James has other problems. He’s been targeted by Cyrus Bain, a career criminal, and the man who recently shot him during a raid.
Okay, that’s the basic plot. Unfortunately, the further I went into the book, the more other stuff got in the way and as mentioned later, the plot fell apart. Some flashbacks that confused me. The story kept diverting away from the Dingo to see what Bain was up to next and, in my view, relegated the serial killer angle to second place.
Lawrence James: Intelligence Liaison Officer from the Serious Crimes Squad, ex British cop, ex smoker (except when he drinks)
Jesse Sandersen: criminal psychologist, has a Ph.d, professor at Melbourne University, author, smokes
Dan Collins: police officer with the title of Constable, married
Allan ‘Toohey’ Campbell: Collins’ partner, 6’6”
Cyrus Bain: 38, criminal, almost 6′ tall, green eyes, smokes cigars, has a daughter
Adrian Marsh: ex criminal reporter
Lots of other characters, some minor, some with medium sized roles.
James, supposedly the main character, didn’t turn out that strong. He spent much of his time by himself and catching up on the investigation after others had done their jobs. (Yes, I realize the seclusion was for his own safety, but if he’s the main character…) Sandersen, the second ‘main’ character was almost uninvolved. The relationship between the two changed too abruptly, then they separated. Marsh, it seemed, did most of the investigating, then reported to James.
One character I didn’t understand was the female television reporter whose child is kidnapped. She has a connection to Bain but I didn’t quit comprehend or believe, her attitude about her child being taken. In fact, the entire kidnapping confused me.
The more the story went along, the more these characters acted out of the ordinary. Bain wants to kill James then doesn’t when he has the chance. James’ boss’ reaction is, “Oh well, get back to work.” James’ reaction is, “Okay.” Huh? He spends most of the book hiding out from a guy who wants to whack him then all of a sudden puts him on the back burner? There was a point I about called it quits on this book because some of these people were off the wall, and not in a humorous way.
One instance of missed quotes.
Too many extra stuff after tag lines. One instance had …said with a smile. Then: …said with an appreciative smile. Then: …said with obvious pride in his voice. Three of these in a row. And, there are many other additions of a tag line with long action bits afterward. Sometimes it’s okay and helps the reader stay in scene, but if there are too many, the reader tends to lose focus on the important stuff. Plus, sometimes stuff that is mentioned after the tag lines can’t happen because it’s indicated that the action is happening at the same time as the dialogue: …he said, exhaling smoke from his nostrils. Really? He said something and exhaled through his nostrils at the same time? Good trick.
This is the third book in a row where I’ve run into instances of two tag lines for the same speaker in one paragraph of dialogue: “Well that’s probably the best offer I’m going to get in this one-horse town,” said Sandersen with a smile. “I’ll let you get yourself together and give you a call in say half-an-hour,” she said…
The second tag is not needed because the reader already knows who’s speaking. And again, there is a long action sentence after the second tag line which probably should be its own paragraph.
Speaking of tags, and again, I’ve mentioned this in a recent review, ‘said’ is a perfectly good tag. No need to insert other vocalizations. This book had too many uses of ‘added’, especially when it’s the first tag in a conversation. You can’t add to your side of the conversation if you haven’t spoken yet.
Sections are headed by location. Some missing punctuation and other punctuation problems. Profanity. Long paragraphs. Some repetitious words here and there.
Continuity problem: In the early part of the book, the serial killer had taken four victims in the first spree. Later, the number changes to five.
Much of the plot is not believable, because even with creative license, the events just would not happen or be allowed. One example is: a vicious criminal is put into a Supermax Prison for fifteen years minimum before parole would be considered is allowed to be interviewed unshackled and without handcuffs at a television station, which subsequently provides opportunity for escape.
The difficulty in reading this book, as well as others with similar mistakes or things that don’t work, is that, I discover said mistakes early. Trying to finish the book with them glaring at me is arduous. For instance, in this book, most of the stuff mentioned above was found in the first 20% and continued throughout. Plus, the above mentioned un-believable plot just kept getting more so the longer I read.
For awhile I contemplated Yellow, then Orange, but by two-thirds of the way through all of the errors and things that just didn’t work added up to drop out the bottom.