- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 2448 KB
- Print Length: 403 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Trampoose Press (31 May 2014)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00KQDSBMA
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #998,131 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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|Print List Price:||£9.62|
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The Big Mitt (A Detective Harm Queen Novel Book 1) Kindle Edition
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The author clearly had a great time writing this action mystery set in Minneapolis at the turn of the last century. He did his homework, too, interweaving fact and fiction and giving the reader a glimpse into the seediest possible underbelly of a burgeoning, evidently corrupt young city. I not only enjoyed learning a bit about Minneapolis but also about some famous characters hailing from Minnesota. The author even brushed up on the slang of the day to add more local color. The vintage photos were a nice touch, too.
The plot was also well thought out, coherent, and full of action, suspense, and more twists, red herrings, betrayals, scary characters, and cops on the take than any other story I've ever read. Herein lies its weakness as well as its strength. I began to feel as if some basics had been overlooked, as with the author's portrayal of his anti-hero: we have to take his word that Harmon Queen, corrupt police detective, is famous for something, but it can't be detecting. Another character in the novel, a retired sheriff, quickly finds out more than Harm does about the skulduggery surrounding a prostitute's death. Maybe it's the harm that Harm wreaks on a runaway tram, or the way he's on the take, or his violent behaviour toward street urchins and fellow detectives alike that have made him famous. I think Harm is supposed to be redeemed by his heroism toward the end, but by that time I was feeling slimed by all the loving descriptions of filth, halitosis, and gory murders, so I felt mostly relief that more people didn't get killed.
The other thing that the author needs to watch out for is using words that aren't quite appropriate for what he's trying to say. As an avid reader, I felt slowed down when such glitches occurred, and this is one novel that wants to carry you along with excitement. At its best, the writing is crisp, clever, and fun, so it's too bad when it sags.
All in all, despite feeling grossed out, I did enjoy this book, which clearly is the first in a series. Oh, and the title has nothing to do with baseball. It refers to a con played on innocents by colluding gamblers and cops.
The Big Mitt captures the seamy underbelly of early 1900s Minneapolis and beyond in 400ish riveting pages. In my mind, the pace of the story would have been even more engaging if maybe ten percent of the dialogue were edited out. That is truly my only critique; this is a very well written novel!
Erik Rivenes has a knack for lush scene setting. As a reader who is very familiar with both Minnesota and North Dakota, I read Rivenes's descriptions with rapt attention. It was not difficult to travel backward more than a century in my mind's eye, familiar as I am with many of the cities and towns mentioned in this book. I was particularly delighted to read scenes set in North Dakota, as it is a bit rare for authors to tackle settings in this little known state.
Detective Harmon Queen kept me guessing throughout the novel. I did find his fascination with a prostitute slightly unlikely, but as I am neither a man, a detective, or a cog in anyone's elaborate game of corruption, I won't over-analyze that detail! My slight shake of head over that point actually drew me further into the story, wondering how on earth everything would shake out.
The Big Mitt is a gritty novel. Readers should be good and truly aware that the book grapples with the realities of organized abuse against women and children. I never felt like the book was graphic or gory in a sensationalized way; these details do indeed add to the grip of the story.
Overall, and excellent read. I enjoyed this book, and look forward to more by Erik Rivenes.
Rivenes’ language is often very poetic and visceral, projecting images of his characters and setting that are beautiful and terrible to behold. (Depending on the given situation of course.) I never once felt that his exposition fell short. Very readily, I could tell he has a very intimate grasp of Minneapolis, and after completing his novel I know for a fact his knowledge base of the city is as unprecedented as his depiction of it.
I don’t have too much in terms of a critique other than subjective observations and opinions. They concern his two protagonists, Detective Queen and Dix Anderson.
I have to say, when Dix Anderson was introduced, Rivenes captured me. It was like the whole time I had been reading, Rivenes had been surreptitiously forming a snare around me woven from the sum of this novel’s excellence, and Dix was the final thread necessary to complete it. Obviously, I adore him. His backstory is presented concisely, flawlessly and makes you wonder why he isn’t simply investigating the murder in Queen’s stead. Dix’s introductory chapter reads like a short story in itself: a complete mini work of narrative and character progression. At that point, I felt Detective Queen was completely superfluous. Dix could have learned what drives himself to return to Minneapolis and been presented, as his investigation progresses over the course of a few chapters, what happened to his daughter and then been introduced to Queen, who would be a fantastic supporting character to Dix’s larger than life personality. Of course, this is just my opinion, and has nothing to do with the half star that I deducted from the rating. I just love me some Dix Anderson.
I subtracted half a star due to instances of overwriting and repetition in dialogue. Rivenes is concise and compelling during expository portions of the novel and just needs to do a little editing to extricate the repeated situations and ideas revisited in dialogue. There could also be some instances where the characters speak for themselves better than Rivenes as well and, after juxtaposing the dialogue and the exposition, I’m confident “The Big Mitt” will be immaculate.
I highly recommend this novel for anyone looking for a fresh murder/mystery steeped in powerfully delivered historical fiction.
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