False Negative by Joseph Koenig
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Reporter Adam Jordan is fired for filing a false story but lands on his feet writing for Real Detective Magazine. When a beauty contestant is found murdered on the beach, Adam starts investigating. But will what he finds be worth dying for?
Like a few other reviewers have already mentioned, this book had all the winning ingredients. The writing was superb, the lead character a likeable scoundrel, and beauties turning up missing is a compelling tale. So why only a 2? I felt like something was missing. All the pieces never quite came together for me, like a soup that hasn't simmered long enough.
Still, it wasn't a waste of time. Joseph Koenig knows his way around a noir tale. I love the idea that a writer for a true crime pulp would solve a mystery. I'll be tracking down his earlier works. Hell, I caught myself enjoying False Negative just for the prose while it was meandering all over the place. It did have its moments, though. I didn't figure out who the killer was until sometime past the halfway mark. Koenig did a good job steering me all over the place.
So, yeah. I'm giving this a two. If it hadn't meandered all over the place and seemed unfocused, it would have been an easy three.
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