Friday, June 26, 2015
Go Down Hard by Craig Faustus Buck
Publisher: Brash Books
Author Website: http://CraigFaustusBuck.com
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Nob Brown left his police job for the insecurity of freelance writing, found himself on the wrong end of a bad divorce, and came to the realization that his best friend/sometimes lover, Gloria Lopes, had her own definition of monogamy. In order to cheer him up, she lets him borrow the police file covering the homicide of Lana Strain, the smokey-voiced lead singer of Nob's teenage dreams. He accepted the file and began following leads in order to wring a story or two out of the anniversary and pay off his ex-wife.
What began as routine examination of the facts led deeper than anyone, including Nob, expected. Shady underworld characters, reformed rockers and more did their best to lead Nob astray from the truth. As he pushed to follow the trail, Nob found the truth was more disturbing than anything he could imagine. Could he figure out who really killed Lana? Will it cost him everything in the process?
Once again, late night cruising of NetGalley's genre tabs lead me to find this book among the Mystery & Thriller section. Not a book with a 'G' rating, this book included several adult situations, adult language and plenty of violence. Somehow everything clicked, creating an action-packed thrill ride on the darker side of Los Angeles and surrounding areas. I think part of the reason the story worked so well was based on the fact that the book was told by Nob in a first person point-of-view. This gave a front row seat to all of his thoughts, emotions and inner conflicts as the story unfolded.
So many eccentric characters filled out the cast and each had a corner market on a particular kind of crazy. Nob Brown first appeared as the typical down-on-his-luck guy who spent his days fighting to make ends meet by writing tabloid articles and running from the clutches of his best friend, a hard-as-nails detective with an overactive libido. Throw in several characters who partied like the rock stars they were decades earlier, and you've got a heady mix of ego, paranoia and self-loathing that made it difficult to uncover the truth about the victim, Lana Strain. Even her family members featured a certain level of anxiety. Both of her daughters were polar opposites. One was obsessed with maintaining her mother's image in a very distinct and different way. The other daughter chose to ignore the past and focused on the present. While Lana portrayed herself as a rock-n-roll goddess with a gritty voice and body to match, her father displayed an Ivy league lifestyle, complete with golf games and civil service to boost his credibility in the society pages.
The opening chapter left no doubt that this book was an in-your-face type of novel. Those first pages laid the foundation of Nob's inner circle and launched the struggling writer's investigation. Even with so many different characters to juggle, the structure of the book allowed the author to reveal the various twists and secrets at a steady pace and without losing my attention. Because the story was set in California, the author used the various landmarks in and around Los Angeles and its weather to both enhance the story and create situations that often showed Nob in a world of trouble.
Overall, this story was a wild ride from beginning to end. From ballsy characters to action-packed scenes, there seemed to be something for everyone in the novel. I found it entertaining because of the outlandish nature of the characters and the heartbreaking idea that someone could hurt their family so much that death was the only option. The murder of Lana Strain wasn't the only crime on tap to solve. As Nob delved further into his investigation, several more crimes floated to the top of the pile. Each had their time in the spotlight, but the focus remained on Lana. While there were the usual twists scattered throughout the novel, I felt happy when I didn't guess everything that was going to happen. If you like brash, in-your-face characters or multi-level mysteries, then I definitely recommend this book for your reading list.
Go Down Hard by Craig Faustus Buck is currently available at various online retailers in either paperback or digital (Kindle) formats. Click the link below to order from the book's page at Amazon.
Go Down Hard by Craig Faustus Buck