Monday, February 20, 2017

Hidden Graves by Jack Fredrickson

First Sentence:  Three minutes and twenty-three seconds before the skeleton came at him with an axe, the candidate for US Senate stood grim, trim and confident behind a mahogany lectern set on the freshly hacked weeks of an abandoned farm.
After the US Senate candidate publically embarrasses himself, he goes into complete hiding.  An anonymous, heavily disguised woman hires Dek to travel to three Western States looking for men who don’t seem to exist.  And someone is trying very hard to frame him for murder, or make him a victim himself.  Can Dek put the pieces together?
Starting out with a good hook is important, and boy; does this have a good hook! It also has Fredrickson’s voice and wry humor—“‘What’s the matter with your right hand?’ she asked.  ‘I pulled it out to show her the patchwork of Band-aids. ‘It got damaged.’ ‘Your Band-Aids have cartoon characters on them.’ There was nothing wrong with her eyesight.”—and his use of description—“Outside, the setting sun was beginning to gild the waves in the ocean.”
Dek is an interesting, well-drawn character about whose past history we learn as we go.  That he is surrounded by a unique assortment of supporting characters gives him dimension and balance to the drama; occasionally too much so.  Dek’s relationship with his ex-wife Amanda is an interesting one and one that changes/develops with each book.
Fredrickson’s imagery is very well done—“Curbside girls were wobbling home, a few bucks richer, a few hundred years older.”  However, one must, once again, criticize the overuse of chapter-end cliffhangers and portents which are so unnecessary that they become annoying for their predictable presence—“I told her that would be just about right, because at the time I believed it.”  Dropping the second half of that sentence would have been more suspenseful, and more effective.  This is true of every incident. 
Hidden Graves” is a very enjoyable read with an excellent twist.  It’s another good addition to a well-done series.

HIDDEN GRAVES (PI-Dek Elstrom-Illinois-Contemp) – G+
      Fredrickson, Jack – 6th in series
      Severn House – Feb 2017

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