{Review} Oracle by J.C. Martin #tuesdayturns

Between pumping out my own words this past week, I was madly flipping the pages of Oracle by J. C. Martin, another of J. Taylor Publishing’s fantastic new authors.

Here’s the down and dirty on this one courtesy of Goodreads:

Back of the book:

As the countdown begins, the body count rises.

With London gearing up to host the Olympics, the city doesn’t need a serial killer stalking the streets. They’ve got one anyway.

Leaving a trail of brutal and bizarre murders, the police are no closer to finding their latest murderer than Detective Inspector Kurt Lancer is in finding a solution for his daughter’s disability.

Thrust into the pressure cooker of a high profile case, the struggling single parent is wound tight as he tries to balance care of his own family with the safety of a growing population of potential next victims.

One of whom could be his own daughter.

Fingers point in every direction as the public relations nightmare grows, and Lancer’s only answer comes in the form of a single oak leaf left at each crime scene.

Cover

I’m really drawn to covers with a simple design and sharp contrast.  The tree and leaf against the white background is really eye-catching, and would pull me to the shelf to pick it up for sure.  The title in red ties in nicely with the flavor of the book.

Review

The first thing I noticed was the author really knows how to throw down a scene.  Well written, constructed perfectly, and boy howdy does she know how to leave the reader hanging at the end of every chapter.  Being a fan of British television and movies, I enjoyed the tone of the book and the Britishisms that give the read oodles of personality and charm.

Kurt was great, the main detective in the novel.  His struggle with loss, being a single dad to a young girl with special needs, and the balance needed between family hardships and career made for a complicated and heart-touching character.  I really pulled for him and his daughter, even for his wayward brother, to make it through okay in the end.

The villain in this was deliciously creepy, just how I like them.  He truly believed in what he was doing, making me feel sorry for him while loathing him at the same time.  Bravo.

I had a couple of small sticking points with Oracle.  The first is more of a personal preference and no reflection on the writer or the work, and that’s the changing POV.  It moves back and forth from first person to third person, and the latter took me into many heads.  Having said that, there was only once or twice I had to flip back pages to try and figure out whose head I was in, so although I’d prefer not hop around that way, the shifts were were fairly well done with distinct enough voices to make it work.

The second is that small parts of the ending were predictable, a certain scene making it too obvious how the fight at the ending would go down between the good guy and the bad guy.

Other parts seemed to be unfinished, like the budding relationship between Blaise and Kurt.  With hints dropped throughout the book with a frequency that it seemed important to the author, I took notice and hoped it might lead to something good for Kurt and his family, but that story arc was never resolved.  I’m not sure if this is intended to be a series, and if it is, then that makes sense.  It could just be the romantic in me projecting, too.  :)  I’m also left wondering if a certain injury will lead to a permanent disability.

Still, I really enjoyed the read.  Four cupcakes!

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good crime thriller with a great author “voice” that’ll mess with your head a bit.

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