Top positive review
Possibly the Best Southern Cal Crime Story of the Year; Written by a Scot!
May 1, 2019
This month’s Amazon First choices was about the same as any other month. I decided to give the private eye novel a shot, finding that it was written by an up and coming writer, a journalist from Scotland. Read on to learn what I found intriguing and disturbing.
As I read the prologue, I recollected my college English Lit professor extolling the virtues of writers in different societies. American writers portrayed crime fiction in a violent fashion, while British authors tended to do so in intelligent twisting stories that tended towards cunning villains who minimized the harsh violence. Well, the author of “Thin Air” certainly did not ascribe to the typical UK, (aka Sherlock Holmes) style evident through the seventies.
BLUSH FACTOR: Lisa Gray is sure to make a name for herself in the coming years. “Thin Air” comes across as a work of a seasoned author. What this means, the book is replete with adult language (eff-words and so forth) and adult situations. Violence is as graphic as the language, but not in an over-the-top manner. The romance-oriented sexual situations are stimulating, also without going too far for most people. Suffice it to state that, although greatly intriguing, this is NOT the story for your young child. It also may be just a little too raw for a few elderly folks.
Having warned of the mature content, there is no way I would caution against reading this for most adults I know. Just trying to prepare you by setting the scenes without giving any spoilers.
THE WRITING & EDITING: As I mentioned, it is difficult for me to believe this is a debut novel. I suppose her journalism experience, and her editing experience is a factor in her skill, but I have not come across many new writers with the skill and talent displayed by Ms Gray. Editing, incidentally, is professional.
I’m not sure where to add this point, so I’ll do it here. Although I’ve not been to Simi Valley in decades, I did enjoy re-visiting the area by reading this novel. I was easily able to recollect my memories of numerous visits to the valley just beyond Chatsworth. Then again, back in those days, before Ronald Reagan, it was a quiet, peaceful, sleepy berg just emerging from its days as the backdrop for western movies and television series productions. Her description of the valley made me homesick. Well, a little homesick…
POV: Alternation point of view. The prologue is first person and, in my opinion, just a bit more revealing than I was accustomed to. Certainly, those among you who choose to sample the first 10 percent will be able to decide if this is the right story for you. If it is, I am confident you will leap to purchase and will find this to be a great page-turner. Of course, for those who find the prologue to be a turn-off, they
Will be none the worse off, because they weren’t forced purchase it before glimpsing the quality and tenor of the writing.
No excerpt needed with this crime story. The prologue well sets the tone and gives a fair assessment to the curious souls.
My one slight caveat is the prologue. Well-written, to be sure, but, combined with the rest of the tale, it leads to a confusion and, in a good way, a ton of surprises throughout. I almost want to shout from the rooftops about the quality and pace of the writing. It is ALMOST that good.
Four, maybe almost five stars. Perhaps if it had gone a little deeper into character development, I would have rated it five. I was shocked and pleased at how well a writer from the UK could describe, without going overboard, the areas of Southern California that I called home the first 25 years of my life.