Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that have been waiting on the ‘to be read’ pile for however long, and are finally getting an airing.
This week I’m showcasing the first in a detective series which was reissued in 2015. Marty Singer has retired from the police force due to ill health but there’s one case he can’t forget….
It’s a case that retired detective Marty Singer has never been able to put out of his mind completely – the murder of Brenda Lane by Michael Wheeler. Wheeler was a police officer with the same force as Marty and the crime left Brenda’s young daughter an orphan. Wheeler was found not guilty, even though his story didn’t add up.
Twelve years later, Marty is feeling weary and apathetic having been diagnosed with cancer, which precipitated his retirement. He is about to begin chemotherapy treatment when Brenda’s daughter, Amanda, who was twelve years old at the time of her mother’s murder, seeks him out. She believes Michael Wheeler is back and is targeting her.
I was killing time at a coffee shop, slouched in an overstuffed chair that had been beaten into submission years earlier. The café – I don’t know the name, Middle Grounds or Mean Bean or something precious – was a grungy, brown stain of a place flanked by a failing Cajun restaurant on one side and a check-cashing store on the other. A crowd of Hispanic guys hung around out front looking simultaneously aimless and expectant, hoping their next job was about to pull up to the curb.
Amanda’s situation gives Marty a much-needed incentive to try and right a wrong and get justice for both Amanda and her mother, giving him ‘a reason to live.’ Marty has missed being a cop and, although his investigative resources are now limited, he reconnects with his old partner, Jim Kransky, who also believed Wheeler should have been found guilty.
Marty is the narrator and a great lead character, I love how he’s portrayed and developed. His struggle is different to the usual flawed police officer and gives Marty depth and humanity without overplaying the disease angle. It’s a realistic representation and gives Marty a vulnerability which is endearing. It’s a nice change to have a lead character who is more down to earth and relatable.
The secondary characters are well defined and the excerpts from the mind of the antagonist added a little extra. Excellent writing infused with feeling and clear imagery and a well thought out plot that kept me guessing until the author chose to reveal the outcome. I listened to Matthew Iden’s short story The Kindness of Neighbours a while ago and loved it. A Reason to Live is his debut novel and the first in a series I plan on following.
About the Book
Twelve years later, the victim’s daughter comes to Marty begging for help: the killer is stalking her now.
There’s just one problem: Marty’s retired…and he’s retired because he’s battling cancer. But with a second shot at the killer—and a first chance at redemption—Marty’s just found A Reason to Live.