Title: The Big Exit
Author: David Carnoy
Source: from publisher for review
Review Summary: A fun modern take on the noir mystery genre with plenty of action and plot twists to supplement the great atmosphere.
Convicted of vehicular manslaughter, Richie is released from prison still claiming his friend actually swapped places and put him behind the wheel. While Richie served his sentence, his friend has gone on to business success and marriage to Richie’s ex-fiance. When that same friend turns up dead, Richie is the obvious suspect. However, while evidence against both Richie and his ex-fiance mounts, not everything is as it seems. Plot twists and intriguing leads kept me reading this one late into the night.
The atmosphere was by far my favorite part of the book. Despite the modern, Silicon Valley setting, this book felt like a 1940’s noir. Although their are multiple view points, all of the characters voices reminded me of the hard-boiled, dedicated detective featured in mysteries from The Maltese Falcon to the computer game LA Noire. To an extent, I missed having characters with more unique voices, but I also liked and admired them all for their shared stubborn insistence on finding the truth. As a result, I really enjoyed the narration, despite it’s uniformity.
The dialogue and the writing did a lot more to flesh out the characters and I very much enjoyed both. The dialogue was funny, but not unbelievably witty or over the top. And the writing was very good, with descriptions of appearances and background stories both worked seamlessly and naturally into the plot. The technical jargon got a little heavy on one or two occasions, deserving of more explanation that was given, but this was rare enough that it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book. I did appreciate the fact that the author seemed to understand how crime labs work. He certainly gave a much more realistic representation than most stories, especially popular TV shows! I was also constantly intrigued by the plot, especially all the tantalizing clues leading me to re-work my theory about what happened. While this wasn’t the sort of mystery I typically go for, more based on clues and action sequences than an understanding of human nature, I definitely enjoyed the ride.