So my friend Rob Cline has penned a novel called Murder by the Slice. Bottom line - It's a fun read!
Murder by the Slice, as the name implies, is a murder mystery set in the modern day with an unlikely hero in the form of an underemployed pizza delivery driver / philosophy major, Paul. As with all good hero stories, our hero gets tangled up accidentally (or by fate, destiny, the gods, whatever vehicle you choose) when he stumbles into the scene of a murder. What happens next in the 314 page ride is a series of twists and turns as Paul tries to extricate himself from the whole mess. But, as often happens to reluctant heroes, the only way out is through figuring out whodunit without getting hurt or killed.
The supporting characters in the book are well written, and far enough from the usual stereotypes to be believable, which makes the book easy to get caught up in. Even the unlikely attraction between a hot young reporter and our hapless, sorta ordinary hero comes across as genuine and sweet. The story arc is well written and easy to follow. I read the whole book in the course of one day, since I had the time and it held my interest, always wondering what the next mini adventure would be.
One criticism, [SPOILER ALERT] would be the highly unlikely odds of finding a key to a safe in a file in a file cabinet full of files, in a room full of file cabinets, while under duress, then have the safe appear by chance as well. It stretched the odds of probability a little too much for my mind. I hope that won't give too much away. But that was the only point in the book that shook my willing suspension of disbelief enough to be distracting. [END SPOILER ALERT]
Another "criticism" I have is that, well, I know the author. Let me explain. I knew him well in high school and was Rob's college flat mate for awhile, so the old adage "write what you know" was filled almost to perfection. In the movie in my mind, it was Rob playing the part of Paul. Which was great fun. I recognized traits of people in our circle of friends in the characters, I could easily picture the car, some of the scenarios, etc. based on a common history. I wondered if the main baddie was named for our drama director (last name), or me for that matter (first name). The criticism is, (I state with a grain of salt) that throughout the book I was waiting with anticipation for a reference to the philosophy of Star Trek to make an appearance. I remember with great fondness coming back to our apartment after classes and having Star Trek on TV in one of its many forms. Being a mild trekkie myself, I didn't mind a bit. So I fully expected some mention of it in this tome. Maybe next time.
What impressed me was that I was able to believe that the events that took place could happen (even though my having experience at crime scenes and knowing that the odds of someone discovering a body having to go through all that Paul did are less than slim to none.) As I read, I could easily imagine the movie version of the book. I liked the characters, good guys and bad guys. The plot was fun and kept moving and kept me entertained, which is more than lots of murder mysteries are able to do! It avoids getting "dark" or "gritty", which is a relief from the majority of murder mysteries out there. There is a good amount of humor, both in spoken words and situations, and reminded me of a good "Moonlighting" episode instead of "CSI:SVU". All in all, a delightful book!
So, yeah. If you want a fun murder mystery read, I would highly recommend this book, either in its physical form, or on your e-reader. Oh, and Rob - when they make the movie, can I play the part of the dead body? :)