Saturday, June 22, 2019

Review: A Shattered Lens by Layton Green

A Shattered Lens (Detective Preach Everson, Book #2)
by Layton Green
Release Date: July 16th 2019
2019 Seventh Street Books
ARC Edition; 304 Pages
ISBN: 978-1633885394
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

Annalise Stephens Blue is a Creekville high school student with plans to become a world-famous filmmaker. As she begins filming an exposé of the town called Night Lives, she uncovers more than she bargained for: on the very first night of filming, she stumbles upon a murder in the woods, and flees the scene steps ahead of the killer.

Detective Joe "Preach" Everson is called to investigate the murder. The victim, David Stratton, is the town's golden boy and high school quarterback. A modern version of what Preach used to be. Not only that, the boy's mother is Claire Lourdis, a beautiful divorcĂ©e who Preach fell for in high school. She is also the main suspect in her son's murder.
Despite the cloud of suspicion hanging over her, old feelings resurface between Claire and Preach, straining the detective's relationship with his girlfriend Ari, a prosecutor in nearby Durham. As Preach delves into the secrets lurking beneath the surface of the town and searches for a missing girl who may have witnessed the crime, he must put his own feelings aside and pursue the answer to a terrible question: is a mother capable of murdering her own child?

My Thoughts
A Shattered Lens is the second book in the Preach Everson series and I liked it just as much as the first, if for different reasons. In this series, Preach has returned to the hometown he left as a teenager, due to circumstances that are still not quite clear, and accepted a position as a detective. Extremely experienced as he had spent over ten years investigating murders and crimes in the big city, he thoughts things may slow down as he dealt with the demons he left behind him when he fled.  I am a huge fan of this author, and while this book was somewhat slower than the first book, the story was still interesting, and we got to learn a bit more about Preach and his past.

First of all, I love Preach as a character.  He is humble but still exudes that confident air that you would think a successful detective would possess; he makes it known that he is very good at his job without being vain and conceited, which I like.  There is an air of vulnerability about him as well and the author develops this side of him as he struggles to deal with the person he is now with the person the town still perceives him to be from knowing him all those years ago.  Personally, I think it would be terrifying to have to live in the town where I was a teenager and I would never want to go back, but I definitely understand Preach's struggle with trying to get to know townspeople he knew as a young man and having them understand who he is now.  The underlying themes in this novel were quite fascinating and I enjoyed them tremendously.

One of those themes came about through the murder investigation as Preach was forced to investigate an old crush.  It's one of those things that makes you wonder if you could actually arrest someone you knew all those years ago, but also asks the question, How well do you really know someone? And Preach had been away all those years.  And then to deal with feelings of attraction to that suspect brought the whole novel on an entirely different level.  And this is where I had a problem.  While I got the attraction, I was not impressed with Ari\s reaction to it as well as her jealousy; I thought it lowered the book a notch or two and made it seem a bit juvenile and high schoolish.  Really? Either you trust your man or you don't and the texts didn't really seem all that bad to me.  The only thing I thought was that Preach should maybe have shared them with Ari; however, it was an active investigation and things are confidential.  So maybe he should have shown them to his boss instead? Not impressed with this scenario at all. And not impressed with Ari's reaction, nor Preach's, to what happened. I'm not against conflict in a relationship as that would be silly, but I don't like conflict that doens't really happen naturally, as two people try to adjust their lives to include the other, just to have conflict. It isn't really necessary.

That being said, the writing was great and drew you into the story.  I have always liked Green's style of writing (and really wish he would write another Dominic Grey novel, hint hint!!), and it was no different in this book.  I like how Preach is developing as a main character, and there is still so much to learn about him which makes it interesting.  I would love to learn more about the town and its other characters though, and I think there is so much potential here. The plot was interesting, with plenty of twists and turns, even if the action was toned down from the first.  I always like it when I guess wrong in a murder-mystery.

A Shattered Lens is a detective novel and is somewhat different than some of his previous work.  However, it still has a way of grabbing your attention and although it's very much a police procedural in nature, I liked that, as it showed a different side to this author and his writing ability.  The author has this way of describing things and people, of making you feel on edge, even when you think nothing is happening.  And there is a lot happening.  And while this book can definitely be read a s a stand alone, I do recommend you start with the first book in the series as there are things that I see building up in both these books that will be developed in future books.  And I can't wait!!