by Fletcher Bell
Tower State University, T.S.U. is a small university in Oakview, Indiana. Nothing much usually happens on the campus. Police officer Ben Hudson is doing a routine check of the blotter. Ok stop there, blotter? One reason that I liked the book was the insights it offered into daily life in America, Details that are edited out of U.S. TV shows. Blotters we don't have blotters in the UK, We have event logs, and we don't have police stations located on a university campus. We have security guards at Universities but they are not police officers with guns and powers of arrest.
Anyway.. The peace of a Sunday night shift for our hero Ben is shattered when a radio call comes in from Chris …there's been a Murder… a body is found on the edge of the campus. Note; the symbolism in the book of the falling leaves, is a reference to death. The crime scene is covered in autumn leaves.
Then, there is the hilarious interaction between the cops from the T.S.U. Ben is the experienced cop and Chris being a bit wet behind the ears, and the city cop. So we have experienced cop and rookie and then campus cop and city cop, and The bad cop, all boo, is Allan Barnes, Ben the good cop, he is on the side of the angels, Sort of… Then there is chief Ed Winters. All of the various cops have their own angle on the motive of the killer. This is a good opening to the book and I liked the idea of the bodies being linked to the University campus. It reminded me of murder on the Orient express or a murder on a cruise ship, the campus being a defined area, with some mad killer operating exclusively within it's confines, this plot device adds to the tension.
The main female character Tristan, a professor at Tower, seems odd at first, her over reaction to the first murder is puzzling, Then the plot kicks in and it gets interesting. The past and present fears of Tristan create a number of interesting angles as Ben tries to get to the bottom of Tristan's inner fears. The light relief comes from the interactions between, good cop Ben and the Bad cop Barnes. The crime scene has been sealed off. Barnes we are told likes to chew gum. Ok what does he do? He spits out his gum in the area near the crime scene. I laughed in a number of places the book is a good entertaining read. I won't go into all the detail but there are some strange markings on the first body, that ties in with the unfolding plot. Its easy to follow, easy to read, and well written. and I liked it.
I think I have found a new author to follow, I will definitely buy Fletcher's next book.
The review was of the kindle edition. The book is highly recommended.
Paul Kendall Leeds (UK)
Check out the author's web site ; http://www.fletcherbell.com/