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Mystery / Thriller

  • The Butler Did It

    by Andre Boyce

    Rating: 2.25

    If the title alone wasn’t a giveaway, the lead’s name, Dick Privates, makes clear that this whodunit is meant to be amusingly tongue-in-cheek. But even on those terms, Boyce's novel will appeal most to readers who enjoy toilet humor. Privates, an amateurish PI, who had worked as a pizza deliveryman, eventually gets himself involved in a murder case -- but the author takes his time getting to that development. And while there are moments of humor, the book suffers from underdeveloped characters and poor plotting.

  • 978-1500809553

    by Rebecca Brisbane

    Rating: 2.00

    Despite the introduction of a mystical element, there’s nothing really new in this thriller about a small-town cop trying to prove herself. Kelsie Lee Ray chose to work in the small town of Ridge Haven because of its lack of scary crimes, but is out of luck when a serial murderer dubbed the Fable Killer begins to strike. Few cliches are left unused, including sections from the killer’s perspective as he targets the attractive officer. Additionally, labored prose and underdeveloped characters work to take readers out of the story.

  • Operation Black Swan

    by Owen Parr

    Rating: 1.75

    Sect-Intel operative John Powers, ex-CIA with a heart murmur, is on an assignment spanning the globe in Parr's lackluster thriller. Info dumps that introduce characters and overly detailed backstories slow down action scenes and make it hard for readers to differentiate plot from unnecessary information. The book's characters are poorly developed and the plot mixes arms-dealing cartels with kidnapping and Wall Street hacking and short sells into a muddle that will confuse readers.