Friday, October 10, 2014

Essence of Betrayal by Damien L. Malcolm

Release Date: August 24, 2014
Publisher: Damien L. Malcolm

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

When Allison Becker went missing, an entire town searched for her, including Jack Mullens. Handyman by day and secret P.I. by night, Jack found himself in the midst of the search after a late night phone call dropped the case squarely in his lap. It was from that moment that his entire life shifted.

Between conflicting stories, lies and false leads, Jack soon realized that not everything was what it seemed. He followed each lead and often found himself faced with danger. Not something he couldn't handle himself, but when the lives of his loved ones were on the line, Jack must act quickly to solve the case. Will he find Allison Becker or those responsible for her disappearance before it's too late? Will there be anyone he cared about left to greet him when the dust settles?

In exchange for an honest and fair review, I received a copy of this book from the author. Previously writing only science fiction novels and stories, this book marked the author's debut in the mystery section of fiction. There was a little apprehension as I began reading the book. A few chapters into the book confirmed my feelings that the book was going to be a good one. In fact, there were many events and characters that made the book enjoyable.

The book was written from the point of view of the main character, Jack Mullens. His thoughts and emotions were front and center throughout the novel. Though he was a bit slow at times, it was evident that he truly cared about the individuals in his inner circle. As the story progressed, the cast of characters increased in number, but I was happy to see that they each had their own personality and way of doing things. It's quite easy to lose that with a large number of secondary characters. Between those who had a hand in the main action like Walter and Sara to those who lent a helping hand when it was needed like Mrs. Johnson, there's a character for nearly everyone. I do have to admit that I have a favorite among the fringe characters. There's a cheeky, older lady who wasn't ashamed to announce what she liked in a man. I could almost see Jack blushing during that exchange. It was just one of the many interesting people in Jack's town.

Action and intrigue drove this story from point to point, whether it's following a lead or finding a place to clear his head. Once the first bombshell was dropped, the pace was quickly set. There weren't a lot of places where I found a lull in the action or plot. In fact, it seemed to me like this was twist after twist. When I thought I had a handle on where the book was going, another bombshell was dropped. Before the ending I didn't know what to think about who was on which side. Even the setting of the book provided a few twists of its own. The dialogue and clues didn't give much away before it was time and made the book enjoyable to read.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and was glad the author contacted me. There were a lot of head-scratching moments that made it a treat to read. The author did a great job of putting subtle clues and major reveals in the story without making it a heavy read. Only small drawback to the novel was the distinct Australian flavor throughout the book including the descriptions of items to the slang used in the dialogue. Let me be clear, it didn't take away from the story as a whole. For those unfamiliar with the terminology, it may be a little difficult to get used to at first, but should ease as the story progress. Nevertheless, it was a great story with tons of "what the heck" type of moments. I wholeheartedly recommend this book for anyone who loves a multi-twisting mystery or an action-packed thrill ride through an Australian town.

Essence of Betrayal by Damien L. Malcolm is currently available at many online retailers in either paperback or digital formats including Kindle. Click the link below to visit the book's Amazon page.
Essence of Betrayal by Damien L. Malcolm

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