This is definitely a book for which I have mixed feelings. The overall plot was okay but there were definitely a few things that niggled, especially concerning the main character and the dialogue.
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
A young and famous movie star is receiving death threats, and Derrick is on the case. Without warning, Warren O’Malley, Derrick’s long-forgotten half-brother, arrives in Los Angeles, bringing with him his two formidable younger brothers. The trio is determined to claim their rightful place in the Steele family, or destroy them in the process. With Warren’s arrival comes a dark secret from Daniel McAllister’s past, one that Daniel is unwilling to reveal. As the tension between Derrick and Daniel begins to unravel their relationship, it also begins to threaten the detective agency itself. When Derrick realizes he is falling in love with the young movie star, he faces a heartbreaking decision. Will Derrick be able to save the young star in time? Can the Steeles pull together as a family to stave off this new series of threats? Will this be the end of the famous Steele Detective Agency?
So what did I think?
I have read a couple of good mysteries lately so was looking forward to another of this type of story. I was hoping for a enthralling plot with a nice side helping of romance. This story didn’t quite deliver.
The story centres around Derrick Steele who is a private detective in the family business. As the story starts he is remembering past events – it turns out this isn’t the first book in the series and there was another story I wasn’t aware of – and there are a multitude of characters who are mentioned in a short period. I found myself getting a little lost and confused but kept on going.
Derrick has a couple of cases and we see him following a cheating spouse which involves a bit of action with chases and gunshots. But the main case involves a movie star who is being threatened. Derrick takes on the case and starts spending time with Gordon Maxwell.
My main issue with this story is probably the fact that I didn’t really like Derrick very much. He has a lot of sex with different people and he seemed shallow and superficial. I find it difficult to really like a story when I can’t rate the main character very highly. I disliked the open relationship he had with his live-in lover and didn’t like the affair he started with Gordon. I also didn’t like Gordon’s dalliances with a married man, no matter what the state of the marriage.
While the plot was okay, the story didn’t seem to have a natural or relaxed flow. The conversation/dialogue felt a bit stilted. The other thing I found very noticeable was the overuse of the first names in the dialogue. Each character seemed to use the name of the person they were talking to in every sentence which didn’t seem natural. But perhaps this was supposed to reflect the speech patterns of the time when the book was set? I’m not really sure of the period of this book but it obviously sometime in the past – there are no cell phones, they use the library for research, photos are developed not digital….
There is quite a bit of sex in the book – sex more than romance. Even one slightly strange scene where Gordon is telling Derrick about his first boyfriend. He launches into this really detailed description of them having sex which seemed unnecessary in the context of the story so was perhaps just a strange way of inserting a sex scene.
The ending is also a set up for the next book. There is some closure but also unanswered mystery.
In summary, I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I had read the first book to put some of the elements into context. Once I put my thoughts about Derrick to the side and ignored the somewhat stilted dialogue, the overall story was okay, the potential was there, just not quite realised.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.
- [Books] The Case of the Rising Star: A Derrick Steele Mystery (geeky-guide.com)