Saturday, July 20, 2019

On a Quiet Street by J.L. Doucette

On a Quiet Street is J.L. Doucette's second Dr. Pepper Hunt mystery. However, I'll admit it didn't feel as if the focus was on Hunt in this book, but on the investigating police detective instead. I'm fine with that because I like police procedurals. But, I'll be curious to see what other readers say in the future.

When Stacy Hart is killed, "everyone" is shocked, and Hart's mother says everyone loved her daughter. It takes Stacy's brother, Max, who had a head injury years earlier, to say she was murdered. Someone had a problem with her.

Stacy Hart had everything to live for, if appearances were accurate. She was engaged to marry the assistant county prosecutor. She was renovating their future home, with the help of a contractor. And, she had a job at the local YMCA, working in the safety and domestic violence program. Police detective Beau Antelope is allowed to call in Dr. Pepper Hunt as a consultant on the case. Hunt is a forensic psychologist who works where the mental health and criminal justice system intersect. She as also a victim and suspect herself at one time, when she found her husband and his mistress shot to death at their office.

Now, Dr. Hunt provides Antelope with glimpses into the minds of the suspects. But, it's a complicated case that involves sexual abuse, as well as a long ago accident that left one teen dead and one permanently injured. As in any murder investigation, people have secrets and they're trying to keep them.

I had a few problems with On a Quiet Street. The chapters were short and choppy, once in a while only a page in length. That actually didn't seem to serve the story. Instead, I was thrown out of it at times. The other problem was Dr. Hunt. I preferred Beau Antelope as a lead character, and thought he would have been much more effective. At one point, it was mentioned that spirits of the dead haunted Antelope's dreams until he caught the killer. However, that was glossed over, and the author never returned to that point.  I actually think it would have been a better story without Hunt. I know that sounds odd, when the author herself has a doctorate in counseling psychology, but Hunt just didn't work for me as a character.

However, remember, this is just my opinion of On a Quiet Street, and others might appreciate the short chapters, and the characters.

On a Quiet Street by J.L. Doucette. She Writes Press, 2019. ISBN 9781631525377 (paperback), 256p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received a copy to review for a journal.


Glen Davis said...

I've never read this particular novel, but I've encountered this phenomenon before, where a book is supposed to focus on one character, but instead, focuses on another.

I think it's a cheat. If an author wants to write about a different character, they should write a standalone instead of shoving the series character into a novel to boost sales.

Television does this as well. They call them shadow pilots.

Lesa said...

I agree, and, frankly, I liked the cop character much better than the doctor.

It really makes more sense in television than in a book.