Published By: Joffe Books
Publication Date: 19th December 2017
The frail body of a young boy is found discarded in an old cardboard box. Even in a hard-edged town used to deadly crimes, this touches a nerve.
BODY IN THE BOX is the first book in the Stygian Town mystery series featuring three very different homicide detectives.
Detectives Dino Copper and Terry Jackson have been partners and friends for years. Now a new detective is drafted in to join them: Rebecca Everhart. They must quickly learn to work together on the biggest case of their careers, the disturbing discovery of the ‘Body in the Box’, as it’s known by the captivated media and the city’s worried citizens.
The case takes the three detectives deep inside the lives of the insular Eastern European immigrant community and the world of unlawful medical practices. The case also evokes an eerie childhood memory of Dino’s, where a boy from his neighborhood vanished and was never seen again.
What appears to be a straightforward, modern-day murder case has more to do with the past than the present, and the detectives come to a genuinely unnerving — and life-threatening — conclusion.
Detective Rebecca Everhart is a tough and blunt top Russian-American detective with a family background in law enforcement. She loves the surprised look on a criminal’s face when such an attractive and seemingly small woman arrests him.
Detective Terry Jackson is a hardworking by-the-book detective, and a family man, but lately his family life has been anything but normal. Just what is that big secret his wife is hiding from him? There’s also the conflict he has with his highbrow father, who never liked cops even though his son became one.
Detective Dino Cooper is a streetwise, old-school detective with a dark past and a brother who was murdered by the Irish mob. Dino’s good looks and charm allow him to sometimes bend the rules a little in the name of justice.
Newark is the biggest city in the state of New Jersey, a gritty waterfront city home to a large port. It’s a place that some call home but many commute in from the suburbs to the numerous offices in the city. It’s considered a dangerous and impoverished city by some, but in recent years has been somewhat revitalised. One of the most diverse cities in the world, it’s a place full of life and great stories.
The blurb doesn’t do this novel justice. I found it enjoyable and easy to read, and three main characters appealing. There was some telling rather than showing but it didn’t detract much from the plot. The plot itself was good, and the writing descriptive.
It wasn’t a long book, I read it in five hours this evening, but it packs in a lot of story. I think it’s a good introduction to the characters and location. The tensions between the Jackson family could have been tightened up.
It’s an easy read for a weekend afternoon.