Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Girl Next Door: A Mystery by Brad Parks

The Girl Next Door: A MysteryThe Girl Next Door: A Mystery by Brad Parks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads: Reading his own newspaper’s obituaries, veteran reporter Carter Ross comes across that of a woman named Nancy Marino, who was the victim of a hit-and-run while she was on the job delivering copies of that very paper, the Eagle-Examiner. Struck by the opportunity to write a heroic piece about an everyday woman killed too young, he heads to her wake to gather tributes and anecdotes. It’s the last place Ross expects to find controversy—which is exactly what happens when one of Nancy’s sisters convinces him that the accident might not have been accidental at all.

It turns out that the kind and generous Nancy may have made a few enemies, starting with her boss at the diner where she was a part-time waitress, and even including the publisher of the Eagle-Examiner. Carter’s investigation of this seemingly simple story soon has him in big trouble with his full-time editor and sometime girlfriend, Tina Thompson, not to mention the rest of his bosses at the paper, but he can’t let it go—the story is just too good, and it keeps getting better. But will his nose for trouble finally take him too far?

Brad Parks’s smart-mouthed, quick-witted reporter returns in The Girl Next Door—another action-packed entry in his award-winning series, written with an unforgettable mix of humor and suspense.

My take: This is the kind of mystery that I like. The protagonist is a smart-mouthed, thirty-something year old reporter who accidentally discovers his investigative skills are going to be honed. He's funny, witty, and provides an enjoyable "voice." He doesn't talk crass and the book itself is relatively clean, although I'd not be handing it to my children. The guy is still a guy who makes a few references and is a willing participant if the opportunity arises (no pun intended) and he nearly has a couple of opportunities.

So there's the mystery part; Nancy, the girl next door is killed by a hit and run. It doesn't look like it was an accident. Our hero looks into it and gets in trouble. Then there's the human interest part; he's likeable, funny, and oh-so-human. He sweats. He calls people bad names. He is a romantic in spite of his editor. He's overeducated and underpaid. He has a cat named Deadline. His best lines are wasted on the cat. I wish I could use them but nobody would hear them except my own cat. He has a couple of possible side-kicks in the form of Lunky the intern who is, surprisingly, large but not stupid.

Fun book. Light but not too light. Clean but not unrealistic. I want to see this character again.


Kim said...

I just checked out the author - it's a series. I am going to check the library for the first book, it sounds like something I'd enjoy.

Teena in Toronto said...

I finished it tonight ... it's good!