Author: David Carnoy
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
“Twenty years after the unsolved case of Stacey Walker’s disappearance went cold, a Silicon Valley executive hires the retired Menlo Park Police Detective Hank Madden to find her body and track down her missing husband, the prime suspect in her unsolved murder. Four months later, author Candace Epstein is pushed in front of a car near Central Park. Her editor Max Fremmer becomes entangled into the investigation of her attempted murder, though he is adamant that he is uninvolved. As he digs into Candace’s background to clear his own name, Fremmer grows suspicious of his client’s connection to a nefarious institute for lucid dreaming on the Upper East Side and its staff whose stories never seem to add up—all while an unexpected link emerges to Detective Madden’s investigation in California.” (source)
I picked this up because I really enjoyed David Carnoy’s previous novel, The Big Exit, and as a follow up, this didn’t let me down! The writing is what stood out to me the most about both books. I’d describe it as both literary and clever. The author often made me smile with his wry observations. His writing is good enough that I feel each word is chosen with care and yet, it’s beyond my writing ability to tell you what he’s done that makes it work so well. He also manages to do all this without losing the excitement and fast pace that makes thrillers so much fun. I particularly enjoyed the setting as well. Recognizing the Silicon Valley locations in Madden’s part of the story added a little extra something to the reading experience.
The main characters were not my favorite. They both felt like your stereotypical, hard-boiled detective to me and I had trouble keeping track of who was who. The minor characters were a different story, very distinctive with a ton of fun quirks without becoming (too) unbelievable. The plot was also just this side of too unbelievable, but the author walked that line well. The action was constantly exciting and also believable enough for me to enjoy it as fiction. My only complaint is that the plot seemed to pull the characters along, rather than the characters driving the plot. Most of the answers just fell into the detectives’ laps. Personally, I prefer to see detectives do something clever to get to the answers they need. This was a small problem though and certainly won’t keep me from recommending this. If you enjoy thrillers and want something that feels unique or if you usually don’t read thrillers for fear the writing will be too bland, you should definitely give Lucidity a chance.