By Robert Joseph
Who murdered Willard Weems, former concrete king and, of late, a practicing Buddhist? Was it his son or maybe it was Weems’ spiritual leader, a woman who claims to be a channel for the spirit of a Buddhist Rinpoche? What about the woman’s manager? Inspectors Rafferty and Tafoya are on the case.
A standard murder mystery with a little woo-woo (lol) involved. Typical subplot with Rafferty being divorced with a spiteful ex and a teenage daughter.
Gabriel ‘Raff’ Rafferty: 36, homicide investigator, divorced, has a daughter, auburn hair, green eyes, father was a cop, slender, toned, tall, son dead
Enrique ‘Hank’ Tafoya: homicide investigator, married
Nigel Taylor: British, estate manager
Cassandra Calvet: titled Devachen Rinpoche, Buddhist, smooth golden skin, white/blond hair, green eyes, drives a Jaguar
Jason Lytell: Devachen’s manager, early 40s, curly blond hair, has a tattoo
Mark Howard: ferret features, boyfriend of Raff’s ex, prosecutor
Surface characters. Mark is the butt head prosecutor with no purpose except to show up and insult Raff. He has no redeeming qualities. The ex is spiteful all the time. Hank doesn’t play a big enough role throughout. Gabriel is okay but no cop would act as he does. I didn’t understand some of Cassandra’s associates who show up later. They weren’t really explained well enough and their appearance just added confusion to the story.
Some sentences are double tagged. One doesn’t need to let the reader know that the same person said two sentences in one piece of dialogue. Period where a comma should be on a tag.
Not believable dialogue: “Now just what in God’s name do you think you’re going to do with that thing you got in your hand?” This is said by a woman who discovers a killer in her car’s backseat.
A scattering of misspelled words (i.e.: a dead person is not a corps), missing words and punctuation, punctuation in the wrong place (i.e.: periods, for some reason, at the beginning of sentences and extra periods at the end). Extra words (i.e.: which which).
Problem: In one scene, Raff shoots a potential kidnapper but tells his daughter he won’t tell her mother or her new boyfriend – the prosecutor. Wouldn’t it seem believable that the prosecutor would know the situation eventually when the assailant went to court? Yes, the guy died, but Raff didn’t know that at the time. Wouldn’t Raff have to report the incident and complete paperwork on the shooting?
Along with the above, I didn’t understand the purpose of the attempted kidnapping, how it was important to the story.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but cops don’t fire ‘warning shots’. If someone is in danger, the cop will shoot the assailant if there is a clear shot.
Problem: The cops conduct a search for the killer the morning after a double homicide. Wouldn’t they have conducted the search immediately?
Not believable: That Raff would take his daughter camping with the main suspect in the murder during the investigation. In fact, all of the scenes on the trip and the subsequent relationship are not believable.
Some weak writing, especially with dialogue and the Forbidden Planet comparison didn’t work because it wasn’t hinted at early enough. Well, there were a couple of things but they weren’t strengthened enough to give me the sense of something supernatural. The reference and the direction came too late.
Unfortunately, after a potentially promising start, the story falls apart the longer it goes. With the other problems and errors I have no choice but to give this the rank of: