by Rory Flynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received for review from Amazon Vine
Rory Flynn’s debut crime novel, Third Rail (Houghten Mifflin Harcourt 2014) was promoted as “in the tradition of Robert Parker”. That got my attention. I love Robert Parker‘s novels. Sadly, this wasn’t my conclusion–more on that later.
Third Rail is the story of Narcotics Detective Eddie Harkins whose talent for reading a crime scene fuels his meteoric rise within the department–until he is blamed for a civilian death on a case he’s working. He’s thrown out. This could be the end of his career until he receives a lifeline from a friend in another city. Instead of solving high-profile cremes that no other detective can unravel, he accepts the position to police parking meters, happy to have an opportunity to heal his emotional wounds while hopefully rebuilding his career. Nagog is a quiet town, a seeming dead end for any policeman, where they go to retire, but Harkins uncovers a seedy underside of drugs and violence. When he tries to expose it, many around him try to stop him. Unfortunately for them, Harkins can’t give up. It’s just not him.
Dialogue is authentic. Characters are interesting. Harkins has that ‘Mentalist‘ personality of Independence of thought and action, tolerated by his fellow crime fighters because he notices details no one else does (though it doesn’t show up often on his parking meter patrol).
So this sounds good. What is so different about Third Rail and the novels Parker wrote about NFN Spenser, PI? Eddy Harkins is much darker, more damaged by life than Spenser. Where Parker’s character was content with the hand life dealt, always played it with a sense of humor, Harkins constantly rails against it, trying to change it, thinking he’ll fail. Spenser would never think that.
My recommendation: Read it, but don’t expect a return to Parker. Third Rail stands on its own, as Flynn’s worthy start to a new series.
For a slightly different take on this novel, check out Rabid Reader’s review. She gets into several details my short approach to reviews left out.
To find out more about Rory Flynn, check out his website.
More book reviews:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. In her free time, she is editor of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.