Verdict: HARVEST OF A WRATHFUL EYE is a pleasant mystery thriller with comfortable characters, a couple of nice twists, and an intriguing tech element.
A pair of seasoned law enforcement officers in neighboring states team up with an FBI profiler to nab a serial killer with a particularly gruesome style to each of his killings. The murderer, besides being ruthless, cold-blooded, clever, highly organized and totally insane, also seems capable of using the latest in hi-tech gadgetry to accomplish his heinous crimes. Catching him proves to be the major challenge of each of the lawmen’s careers.
The book is nicely written by by Colin Beckett, and the characters are all succinctly drawn, including (especially) the villain. The author also has a real feel for the settings: the Outer Banks of North Carolina and parts of Virginia. The extensive detail in the book is, unfortunately, sometimes overwhelming and unnecessary, and the number of characters can lead to confusion at times. Also, some of the dialogue comes off as exposition directed at the reader rather than being natural to the scenes and characters. People say things to each other they would both already know. A more even and lightly sprinkled seasoning of exposition and detail would have helped. There are a few awkward point-of-view issues as well, with some sudden hopping into the thoughts of characters in surprising ways.
But all in all, HARVEST OF A WRATHFUL EYE is an enjoyable read. It’s not a mystery or a whodunit, but more of a crime thriller like Law and Order or Columbo, where the identity of the murderer isn’t the twist, it’s the how and why and personality of the murderer where the fun comes in. Putting together a psychological profile is a major aspect to solving the murders, as well as finding similarities and connections between the seemingly random killings. A couple of hi-tech touches are intriguing. Cell-phones, personal robotic assistants and facial recognition software are going to change mystery and crime novels forever—this is one of the first generation novels to incorporate the latest gizmos. It’s an awkward marriage between the quaint, small-town, Outer Banks setting with its decidedly unsophisticated police force, and the hi-tech world of criminal profiling, electronic surveillance and modern forensics—an interesting, intriguing aspect of the book, lightly dealt with in this one, but which the author might want to explore further in subsequent efforts.
HARVEST OF A WRATHFUL EYE is a pleasant mystery thriller with comfortable characters, a couple of nice twists, and an intriguing tech element.
~Dave Eisenstark for IndieReader