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An Evil Shadow - A Val Bosanquet Mystery (The Val Bosanquet Mysteries Book 1) Kindle Edition
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I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery/action thriller set in New Orleans (always a treat to read a book set in this fascinating city). Val Bosanquet, the main character, is a former police officer (detective?) from NO, who retired after capturing a young girl, Marie Duval, who killed her own mother while defending herself from her mother's voodoo torture/ceremonies. She was only 9 at the time. Although convicted of the crime, the extenuating circumstance allowed her to obtain mental and other rehab. Now, ten years later, with the help of a Haitian charitable organization, she will enroll as a freshman at New Orleans University- which will be controversial due to her violent past. The school hires Val to be the new chief of campus police, believing that his past involvement with her will help diffuse the problems.
Val, still shadowed emotionally by that old case, agrees. As he does so, he begins to learn new facts about that old crime, leading to investigate the Haitian charity, a famous athletic goods manufacturer, and old "Baby Doc" Duvalier's (of Haiti) followers and enemies in a series of new corruptions, some related to that old crime.
With many twists and turns, a heavy dose of the Haitian community, voodoo, and the bayou areas around the city, the story rapidly moves forward to a series of well built climaxes. In short, this is a fine mystery, with well defined characters, good action, and a satisfying conclusion. I will read more of his books, and encourage others to do so.
The Kindle edition (I'm not sure if the book is in print) had a significant number of "typos", and a few formatting problems. The typos were mis-use of words (quite instead of quiet, is one example). The formatting issues took the form of missing quotation marks, paragraph indentations and the like. These problems were NOT disruptive in reading the book- but there were too many for my taste. A careful re-edit of the book should eliminate them, and is always worthwhile.
Finally, a few other remarks to the author. I purchased the book about 3 weeks ago. At that time the price was $2.99, but it is now up to $4.99. I think that is too high for an unknown author (with no reviews other than this one). I would encourage him to lower the prices of his ebooks back to $2.99. Second, I seem to remember that when I read the summary of the book on the Amazon page a few weeks ago, it had a very minimal summary of the story. That seems to have been corrected as the summary now is much better at giving a reader an idea as to what the book is about. This is a change for the good. (I haven't looked at his other book summaries, but I hope he has improved them as well.) Last, he is identified as an Irish author, but I didn't find anything in his writing (style, language, etc) that would lead me to think of him as Irish. Just wanted to point this out.
In summary, a very good book, and a hearty recommendation for a good read!
The central character of the book is Val Bosanquet, a former police detective who quit the force for unknown reasons. However, he is offered a second chance at police work when his twin brother proposes that Val become the Chief of the University of New Orleans Police Department. Val joins, but not out of a sense of renewed public duty, but because of a connection in his new job with an old, and personal, case from his days on the NOPD. As Val investigates the mysterious connection between his first post-marriage murder case and his current job in order to protect the murderer of that very same case, he is brought into a dark world of scams and cons committed in Haiti, and the political result of those scams.
AJ Davidson does a great job developing Val as the central character: by the end of the book the reader truly fees as if he knows Val. The author also did a good job developing the minor characters in the story. There is Val's shallow ex-wife, his equally vain twin brother, and a cast of villans that constantly let you think you have guessed the ending, when you are far from the truth. There is a large cast of characters, which can be a bit confusing at times. A couple of the characters were not distinguishable enough from each other to always keep straight in the plot-line, even if they played a major role.
Davidson clearly knows a lot about the history of Haiti, New Orleans, and the impact of Voodoo culture on both. This knowledge helps make the plot move more quickly in areas that might be traditionally slow, and helps to provide some truly original explanations for events.
Davidson's tone, story structure, and plot devices are very similar to a novel by James Patterson. While perhaps not quite as polished, equally entertaining and fun to read. Anyone who enjoys reading thrillers, action-adventure, or mysteries will likely enjoy this novel.
Note: there is some graphic language and scene descriptions. They are not gratuitous or obnoxious, but the reader should be aware if they would prefer to avoid such language or scenes.
Val is a former New Orleans detective and he is offered a job with the Campus Police Department. Val, after some hesitation, agrees to take the job. A child killer he helped arrest about ten years ago for the murder of her mother has just been enrolled at the university. Val discovers new information that suggests a bad cop is actually the one who did the murder. Val also discovers corporate corruption and voodoo and he handles these well. There is far too much to the story to give you a large synopsis, so you will have to read the book for more of that.
The author, to me, writes in the style of (not the same subject matter) Vince Flynn, the author of the Mitch Rap series, without all the blood and guts. There are some cuss words to this story, but no sex scenes. This is a mystery involving murder, so expect to see that.
All in all, this is a great book and I think you will enjoy it as much as I have.