Monday, January 14, 2013

Review: Resolve

Resolve by J.J. Hensley
My rating:         Crime
Source: Publisher (direct)

Cyprus Keller is an ex-cop teaching criminology at a third-rate university. His job might not be the most prestigious in the cutthroat world of academia but it suits him, he's happily married and loves to go running: basically, he's content. Then one of his students is killed, and everything changes when Cyprus returns to his investigative roots and starts looking into the case.

Resolve is an absolute pleasure to read. The first person voice is masterfully done, with ascerbic wit and gallows humour that perfectly fits this cynical survivor of the Baltimore streets. Chapters following the aftermath of Lindsey's death are interspersed with mile-by-mile narration from the Pittsburgh marathon. At first these two strands seem disconnected, but as Cyprus goes from curious criminologist to avenging angel, everything starts to fall into place.

Cyprus' friends and colleagues are a strange bunch, not (I hope) representative of the academic community at large, but for obvious reasons this is a common trait of crime fiction. On the other hand, Cyprus' relationship with his psychologist wife is both convincing and heartening. Hensley's personal experiences of both running and law enforcement procedure add depth and colour to his descriptions.

All in all, this is a near-perfect debut that gripped me from the crowds milling at the starting line, to the exhausting sprint across the finish line.

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