Sunday, 25 January 2015

The Avenged by Charles Prandy

An entertaining read from start to finish.

A little about Charles Prandy:
Charles was born on November 14, 1973 and grew up in Derwood, Maryland, a small city about twenty-five minutes outside of Washington, D.C. His neighborhood was typical of small town suburbia; he had great friends, played sports and got into mischief. He graduated from the University of Maryland University College with a degree in Legal Studies. He attended Wesley Theological Seminary for two years, and it was there that he got the idea to write his first novel, The Last of the Descendants, which was published in May of 2008. Shortly after the release of The Last of the Descendants, Charles began working on his next novel, The Avenged, the first in the Detective Jacob Hayden series.
He’s currently working on the next novels in the series and will continue to write until his brain goes numb.

About The Avenged:
The Avenged is Prandy’s first novel in the Jacob Hayden series, and was published in 2012. It follows a homicide detective (Hayden) as he works a case that begins with the murder of a young man. The case spirals out of control as he uncovers corruption that reaches from the top of the high court right down into Hayden’s own precinct. It becomes very clear that the bad guys are bad enough and desperate enough to do anything in order to maintain a low profile, but how desperate is Hayden to catch them? Will he risk everything?

I felt that Prandy’s novel was well written. Fast paced, with just the right amount of description to keep the stakes high and the pages turning. There are some issues with tense, but I’m finding this more and more common recently, so maybe it’s simply seen as colloquialism to mix them around; I’m not sure.
At first I could hear a 1950s Bogart telling the story; all except for the blonde dame walking into his office and begging for his help. I wasn’t sure what to make of this; the detective seemed to be scene-setting in present tense but then switching to past for the action. I don’t think it mattered overmuch. I may well have been overthinking the whole thing when I was trying to work out whether the author was laying hints with tense. (eg “Theresa’s parents have the kind of love that my parents had.” Does this mean that statement is still current at the end of the book… that they are still alive and love each other? “Theresa was their only child.” Does this mean she is no longer?)
I think it worked though. The main character is likeable and observant – everything you’d want in a good detective. He tends to voice every small musing, which gets a little tiring, but I can understand that Prandy wants to make sure he is being understood very clearly by his reader. He’s also very careful, almost tending towards the cautious, “by-the-book” type of cop, and I have to admit that I felt the best parts of the novel where when he threw the rulebook away. Hayden’s descent into his personal hell is well-planned and well-timed, and the avenging angel who emerges is a lot of fun to follow.

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