Tracking A Shadow
By R. Weir
Denver private investigator Jarvis Mann accepts an assignment from consultant Emily White to track down a stalker. There are several suspects including an ex husband and a former coworker. The intrigue grows when a construction boss with suspected ties to the mob enters the picture.
Pretty standard fare with the expecting twists and turns and lies and falsehoods. As I’ve written before, I don’t care if the plot has been done countless times, if it’s a good story it can still be enjoyable.
Jarvis Mann: private investigator, owns a 1969 Mustang, athletic build, 6′, 180 pounds, has had martial arts training, grew up in West Des Moines (bonus points! Lol), studied criminology at Denver University, worked security, parents dead, has an older brother
Emily White: divorced, 30s, long brown-blonde hair, blue eyes, works for a retail consulting firm, drives a BMW
Tony Bristol: Emily’ lawyer, 6’2”, slender, short brown hair with gray temples
Mark Remington: Emily’s ex husband, has a sister, worked in construction, curly blond hair, dark brown eyes, played football and baseball in high school and college, parents dead, left handed
Rickie Ward: Emily’s former co-worker, 5’9”, slender, brown-red hair, works for a consulting firm
Brandon Sparks: owns Sparks Builders, 6’2”, 250 pounds, 50s, flat face, nose scars, short graying auburn hair
A nice cast with some expected good guys and bad guys and minor characters. Some good descriptions on most…except for Jarvis. Other than his build I didn’t get a picture of his looks. The author put in enough characters to make the story complex without it getting confusing.
I did roll my eyes in disbelief at one minor character (and I’m not playing spoiler here) who needed to go to the bathroom. However, there were people with guns in the bathroom and when she sees the weapons she asks how long the people and their situation was going to last because she had to really pee. She acted like those with the guns were having a discussion about a broken toilet. A normal person would either scream (as with the previous lady in the restroom) or run away.
I wasn’t too sure about the dialogue. Many conversations seemed just a bit off. I know authors don’t write exactly how people actually talk, but there has to be a natural-ness to conversations and many in this story are a shade or two off. I noticed this in the first conversation between Emily and Jarvis. For a woman who has gone through a stalking incident before her emotions, words, and manner didn’t reflect the expected concern or fear. The initial meeting sounded more like a business discussion instead of a woman afraid of another stalker. There were other conversations akin to this. Some of the characters just didn’t sound like I would have expected. Sometimes that’s okay but others I question.
Part of the problem is that many characters don’t use contractions when they ought to. Again, sometimes that’s okay but other times the sentence sounds stilted and too formal for the tone of the conversation.
I didn’t hear very many distinctive voices. They all sound like I mentioned above. A couple characters use the phrase ‘clean his clock’ or ‘clean your clock’, which I don’t think anybody says anymore and is too cliché to be used by two people.
Many characters, at one point, speak for a lengthy period. Line after line with no breaks either in explanation or pleading. Again, not the way normal people speak.
First person from Mann’s POV. Some profanity.
The only slow(er) parts of the story were: A) the party scene. I didn’t care for the extensive info/conversation with the number of guests included. B) the stakeout scene about 80% of the way through. Sometimes the kind of music a P.I. listens to adds to the story and character but in this one I didn’t care. I was more interested in Mann’s thoughts about the case and if figured out something.