I am not a great fan of the crime genre but I do read them from time to time and I watch some on TV. Not the Midsummer Murder type. I am more into Scandi Noir or Spiral from French TV, gritty, honest but engaging.
What do I look for in a crime novel? I dislike multiple murders, one is more than enough in a book. Plot – it goes without saying, there has to be a believable plot, with no glaring holes or people putting themselves into unnecessary danger when a quick call to the police would be the most sensible course of action.
Characters should be as rounded as in any other type of novel.
It must not be self-derivative, i.e. there is at least one crime writer who has written the same book twenty times, but with different characters and settings. Can you guess who?
Psychosis is the first book I have read by Roger Bray. It starts with Alex in prison for his wife’s murder. It appears that only his sister, Alice believes him to be innocent, despite the lack of evidence and that no body has been found. Both siblings are worn down by the three years of appeals, lack of hope in ever discovering what has happened or any prospect of Alex ever regaining his freedom. A chance meeting in a coffee shop changes everything. Steve is drawn to Alice and he has both experience and a license for private detective work. The setting is Oregon. I have to trust the author on that one.
I found the book to be well-written, my only quibble that some sentences were overly long, as in paragraph long. The plot developed well and, for me, I found it a page-turner. A slight curve ball was thrown which deflected the reader from the culprit. I enjoyed the budding romance between Alice and Steve. Alex, I feel, needed some sharper edges, he was almost too perfect.
Steve is a good detective and I wonder if this book is going to be part of a series. I hope so.
I can’t give too much of the plot away but it followed a sensible path, no one did anything that detracted from believability, or behaved out of character. One of the difficulties with crime novels can be an overabundance of characters from which to choose the culprit. This was not the case here. Another character or two may have helped the plot thicken.
Overall, I enjoyed reading the book and would read another of Mr Bray’s books. I will give it 8 out of 10.
I read the book in e-book format. My one criticism of that is that I found the paragraph indents too wide. A very small thing, I know, but I have made the same error myself.