You know how it goes: most times when a friend or relative or coworker raves about a new book (or movie or TV show), it doesn't add up to the expectations built up around all the hype. But sometimes it is as good as you've heard, and it's those special times that keep you going back for more, searching the new talent pool that will amaze and delight you. A KILLING FROST by Michael A. Black is one of those even rarer treats, a book that's even BETTER than you've heard.
Simply put: I couldn't put the book down. Will Private Eye Ron Shade discover what happened to Carlos? Will the relationship with Maria blossom into something more? Will Shade regain his kickboxing title? And will Shade survive the breathtaking climax to reveal the murderous political corruption underlying everything about Space Oddities? The plots and subplots are woven so seamlessly and intricately that it simply isn't possible to set the book aside without wondering what will happen next. And so you find yourself saying, "Oh, I'll just read one more chapter," until you suddenly realize you've read the whole thing. It's that good.
One of my favorite things about the novel is Shade's relationship with Maria. I can't tell you how tired I am of reading PI novels where the "dolls" exist only to gush "My hero" or the sexy dame turns out to be the true murderer. Black sweeps all that silliness aside by showing Maria as a complex woman with her own identity and life. Their relationship is wonderfully romantic while still being true to each of their own issues and concerns of real life.
Best of all, Black reminds us that a car is just a car and a kickboxing title is just a title, but making the best of what you have and being true to yourself and your ideals in the search for truth and justice is what truly makes a man. And when all is said and done, the only question remaining at the end of the novel is: "When's the next one coming out?!"