Thursday, January 17, 2008

Review: First the Dead

Tim Downs is back with another Bug Man Novel, First the Dead! I cheered as soon as I heard he was bringing Nick Polchak back as the main character in a novel. If you’ve read Chop Shop and Shoo Fly Pie, then you know why I was so excited. If you haven’t, race out and get those books now! (You can read the first chapters of all his books on Tim's website.)
Nick Polchak is like Grissom from CSI: Consumed by his job, dedicated to finding the truth, and unable to let go once he’s on the trail of a murderer. This time Nick is headed to New Orleans hours ahead of Hurricane Katrina. While everyone else is focused on taking care of the living first, Nick wants to ensure no murders are covered up by the hurricane. Once he finds his first body that clearly wasn’t killed in the hurricane, he’s off to the races, with all his idiosyncrasies kicking into high gear.

With this novel, I anticipated who the bad guys were from about page 100, but that didn’t keep me from flying through the novel. I couldn’t imagine how Tim would pull it altogether. Even as I began to figure it out, I was drawn in by his tight plotting and great writing style.

Tim is one of those authors who pours on the description where it will help the story and backs off where it would only bog things down. His main characters are multi-dimensional and complex. If this is your first novel with Nick, you may wonder whether you’re supposed to love or hate him. If it’s your third, you’ll love the way Tim adds depth to his development.

While published by a Christian publisher, this book (and others by Tim) do not contain a shoe-horned in spiritual plot. Instead, the book is all about the story – and it’s another great one.

If you like tight suspense that keeps you guessing, even as you begin to figure out who did it, you’ll like this book.

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