Review: Fade to Black by David Rosenfelt

Format: Hardcover
Pub Date: March 2018
Publisher: Minotaur Books (St. Martin's)
Length: 309 pages
POV: Alternating 3rd/Past and 1st/Present
FTC: Review copy courtesy of the publisher

Another new-to-me author this week. I've never read David Rosenfelt before. Never even heard of him, but the concept of an amnesia stricken protagonist was too good to pass up. Even more shocking for those who know me, it's mostly written in 1st person, present tense, and I didn't toss it out a window.

That's not to say the tense combo didn't irritate me. It REALLY did. It felt like the author was trying for an old school noir feel by having the narrative unfold this way, but it never quite succeeded.

I'm a character reader, so I have a difficult time with stories where the characters aren't fully fleshed out. That was the case with this book. The first/present choice meant that we really don't get any insight into the other characters because we spend so much time inside our protagonist, Doug Brock's, head. We get to see his thought processes, but not what makes the other characters tick. And we definitely don't get to see how they feel.

The amnesia angle was more boring than I expected. Likely because Brock is just...irritated by the gaps in his memory. We rarely get an emotional reaction other than frustration from him. No deep emotion at all over something I would imagine is incredibly traumatic.  I found it incredibly weird that the main character was so one-note.

Unlike some of the mysteries I've read recently, I absolutely DID get stumped by this one. The question here is not whodunnit, but what they are doing, and I was kept guessing until the very end. That hasn't happened in a VERY long time, so kudos for that.

My issues with this are largely the tense/POV combo and the fact that I'm a character-centric reader. If you're not as sensitive to present tense, and you aren't as focused on characterization, this one might work for you better than it did for me.

My Grade: C+

The Blurb:
After getting shot in the line of duty, New Jersey state police officer Doug Brock has been busy rebuilding his life. He’s reunited with his fiancĂ© and started to get some of his memories back. He hopes he can continue to recover with the help of an amnesia support group and that the damage from his past isn’t permanent. 
It isn’t until fellow group member Sean Conner approaches him after a meeting that Doug realizes the trouble is just beginning. Sean has discovered in his attic what can only be called a scrapbook of a murder victim, but he has no recollection of the girl’s identity or why he might have gathered this information. Doug agrees to help and convinces his captain to open what had been a cold case. When he discovers that he had a personal connection to this case, suddenly he’s questioning everything he thought he knew about the case, about Sean, and about his own past.

No comments:

Post a Comment