Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Book Review: "A Cold and Broken Hallelujah" by Tyler Dilts

Long Beach Homicide Detective Danny Beckett has more than his share of demons to wrestle. Struggling with chronic, often intense pain from an injury he sustained in the line of duty, still dealing with the psychological trauma of losing his wife tragically, he fully immerses himself in his job, and other than one friend, tends to spend most of his time with colleagues.

"I know I'm better at investigating murders than I have ever been or will ever be at anything else. It's the only thing I've ever been good enough at to make me forget my chronic pain and my grief and to engage me so fully and completely that I'm lost to anything else."

Beckett and his partner, Detective Jen Tanaka, draw a gruesome case—a homeless man was burned to death by three teenagers, ostensibly to bolster their reputation with gang members. For reasons he cares not to dwell on, Beckett is determined to find the identity of the murder victim, and figure out whether there was a reason he was killed, or if he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The deeper Beckett and Tanaka dig into the murder, the more they realize the situation is more complicated than they first suspected, and more dangerous. They are driven to protect the brother of one of the accused murderers, and more and more, Beckett finds himself beginning to idealize the murder victim. At the same time, he is being forced to confront a situation outside of his personal comfort zone, and he isn't sure he's ready.

Tyler Dilts may very well be one of the best crime writers you've never heard of, and you should remedy that. Danny Beckett is a terrific character, complex and complicated, and Dilts' series of books featuring him (this is the third), is really terrific. While all of the books in the series are dark given Beckett's character, A Cold and Broken Hallelujah is a little darker than the first two. If you like crime novels, give Tyler Dilts a try. You'll be drawn in by his writing ability, and you'll find yourself wanting more.

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