Faces of the Gone by Brad Parks
Series: #1 in the Carter Ross series (new series)
Publication Date: 2009
Challenges: Support Your Local Library #1
The Short Version:
Fun new mystery series featuring a wisecracking investigative reporter as the main character that is slightly reminiscent of Harlan Coben meets David Rosenfelt meets Lou Grant.
Why I Read It:
Jen at Jen’s Book Thoughts thought it was good. Therefore I needed to read it.
Carter Ross is an investigative reporter for Newark, New Jersey’s Eagle-Examiner (cue bird watching jokes). His smart mouth gets him in trouble as often as it gets him results. When four bodies are found in a vacant lot shot execution style, the cops lead the media to think that it’s all related to a previous bar robbery. Carter soon disagrees with that theory. As he starts checking facts and attempting to tell the stories of the victims, he begins questioning this overly convenient but clearly implausible theory. Before it’s all over, Carter and his wonderfully gay Hispanic intern Tommy find their lives in danger as they discover that the true connection between the victims is the drugs they sold.
I was impressed with this debut mystery. Set in New Jersey it’s got my favorite parts of Harlan Coben’s and David Rosenfelt’s books – a smart wisecracking hero and an interesting mystery that keeps me guessing. Parks has a second Carter Ross book scheduled for later this year and I’ll definitely be on the lookout for it.
The story is a fast paced mystery with humor tossed in at regular intervals. Although the wisecracks seem a tad forced in places, it’s still a strong debut and if the promise I see in this first book holds up in the second I’ll have yet another series to follow.
I enjoyed that the protagonist is a newspaper reporter. Parks’ own history in the newspaper business allows him to tell a bit of the inside story of that environment as he weaves the main story. His insights into the life of a reporter and the world of the newspaper business are interesting additions as the reader follows Carter in his quest for the story and the truth.
All in all it’s a fun mystery with an interesting (if teensy bit overdone) main character. I’m definitely planning on reading the next in the series after thoroughly enjoying this strong debut.