TAGGED FOR MURDER
When a body is found on top of a railcar in Chicago, Dek Elstrom is hired to take photographs of the scene, but when people connected to the crime start going missing, he’s pulled into a deeper and much more sinister mystery.
Tagged for Murder is the 7th book is the Dek Elstrom series - I must admit that I haven’t read any of the other books but I’m afraid this one hasn’t really inspired me to pick up any of the others. Although this story can work as a stand-alone, there are some things which will probably work better if you have read more in the series. As a new reader I was quite annoyed that exposition about his past, his living conditions and his wife came at 69% of the way through the book – regular readers would have known all this already so it wouldn’t have mattered where it was placed but for a new reader it just felt way too late. Dek himself also doesn’t particularly seem that strong or interesting a character to have an entire series built around him.
The books do have a great and interesting writing style - it walks a nice balance between the great descriptions of a corrupt and crumbling Chicago city and humour which can be quite absurd in places (goat races, anyone?) However, my main problem with this book was that the plot just didn’t engage me at all. This is a shame as I picked it to read because of its premise from the blurb, despite the fact I hadn’t read any others of the series. A book of this size usually takes me 2 days to finish – Tagged for Murder took me 7 as I lost all impetus to pick it up and keep going with it. I spent the first half of the book being overwhelmed with details and struggling to work out what was going on with a large list of names, suspects and corporations. After 50% of the book I then found myself bored with Dek repeating the plot over and over again to different characters. It seemed like he’d explain what was going on to one character, then a situation would happen that changed something in a small way and he’d be then explaining the entire thing again to someone else. I also didn’t really understand why Dek was making half the decisions he was making – they seemed to be for no other reason than to advance the plot, for example driving around in a really obvious jeep when people are following you and out to kill you certainly isn’t smart! Even the ending didn’t shock or interest me in any way, mainly because I felt nothing for any of the characters, except perhaps Gregorio the goat.
Overall I’m afraid this book did nothing for me –if you have read and enjoyed previous Dek Elstrom mysteries you might get some kind of enjoyment out of it but if you’re a new reader like me it is perhaps not the best one to start on. Thank you to NetGalley and Severn House for a chance to read and review Tagged for Murder in exchange for an honest review.