SONGS OF INNOCENCE
BY RICHARD ALEAS
By K. Robert Einarson
In the Edgar and Shamus nominated "Little Girl Lost",
we were introduced to PI John Blake. In the three years
since the terrible events of that book, John Blake has given
up on being a PI and joined Columbia University as an Administrative
Assistant. He was slowing rebuilding his life when he discovers
a woman he was involved with has died from an apparent suicide.
But the secrets he knows about her convinces him it has
to be murder. So he begins his own investigation and in
the process finds himself deep in the dark world of New
York's sex trade and getting the attention of some very
Richard Aleas (AKA Charles Ardai, co-founder of Hard Case
Crime) has a style very reticent of the pulps that his company
republishes but has a fresh contemporary feel. He crafts
very believable and detailed characters that enhance the
story and his dialog is both realistic and feels authentic
to the characters.
Aleas also shows his fondness for the work of William Blake
with the names of both of his books coming from titles of
Blake poems and excerpts from Blake's poetry at the beginning
of each part.
A skilled writer crafts a story like a puzzle. As we see
each piece, we know it fits into the puzzle and we add it
to the developing picture but we can't see enough to know
what it is. But once we get that critical piece, then the
picture becomes clear. And all of the pieces we thought
were just the background are in reality the details that
defined the picture. Aleas did that with this book.
The storytelling is tight and the plot moves quickly with
a slow boil tension that builds right up to the shocking
I strongly recommend this book at any reader or writer who
loves this genre. It is an outstanding work that shows his
prior award nominations were richly deserved. I feel confident
we will see another nomination for Aleas soon.
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