Review: Binary Witness by Rosie Claverton

Pub Date: May 2014
Format: ebook
Publisher: Carina (Harlequin/Harper Collins)
Length: 213 pages per Amazon
Why I picked it up: Recommended by several people on Twitter
FTC: Paid for by me

In my continuing efforts to thoroughly vanquish this reading slump, I'm switching up my genres. I recently asked for mystery recs on Twitter, my go-to place for peer recommendations, and several people responded with this series by Rosie Claverton.  After safely making it through the Kindle sample, I bought it. And I managed to read it in 3 days which these days is something of a miracle. Gone are the days I can read a book in a few hours. There's simply too much on my plate to have that much uninterrupted time.

I had hoped to keep up my good luck by sticking with print, but this book is a digital-first one, which means no print copy is available as of yet (if ever).

Although I liked the book, my biggest irritant was not really the book's fault: I kept getting distracted by the British slang throughout the story. I'm a devoted Sherlock watcher. Well, BBC mystery anything, really. I can usually puzzle out most British figures of speech without pausing, but there was so much of it (understandable given the nationality of the author (British) and the setting (Wales) that I was repeatedly dragged out of the story. It broke my reading flow, which in turn caused me to get distracted by the million other things I have going on. Which is why it took me three days to read 200 pages.

Maybe it was just me, but I didn't find the author's voice particularly distinctive. At least not yet. It may come with time. I did enjoy the premise, the plot, and the characters. It wasn't overly predictable.  I wanted a little more depth to the setting. A little more sensory writing instead of being told what people were thinking. I wanted it shown. Again, that will probably improve with experience and time.

The promise of a thoroughly engaging series is there, though. There's a ton of directions this can go. The cast of characters was nice and varied. Plenty of secondary story lines can be teased out as the series progresses. I liked it enough to read the next one in the series, which, really, is what most first books need to accomplish.

My Grade: B-

The Blurb:

Book one of The Amy Lane Mysteries
Police detectives rely on Amy Lane to track the digital debris of their most elusive criminals—when she's not in the throes of a panic attack. After two students disappear in Cardiff, Amy uncovers photographic evidence that they've been murdered. From the safety of her computer, she looks through the city's digital eyes to trace the steps of a killer.
Amy's investigation requires footwork, however, and the agoraphobic genius can't hack it alone. She turns to her newly-hired cleaner, ex-con Jason Carr. Jason is fascinated by both Amy and the work, and can't refuse even when she sends him into situations that risk returning him to prison.
The killer strikes again and again, and Amy and Jason are the only investigators closing in on him. But Amy's psyche is cracking under the strain, and Jason's past is catching up with him. To stop the next murder, they must hold their unconventional partnership together at any cost.

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