Book six in Demain Publishing’s crime-centric Murder! Mystery! Mayhem! line boasts everything a fan could want in their crime thriller book. Bank robberies, corrupt cops, shootouts, murders and doubles crosses aplenty. There is clearly never a dull moment in Garland Cove.
Shane is a career criminal who has become embroiled in a web of police corruption. He works as an informant for crooked detectives in an effort to stay out of prison but finds himself becoming complicit in increasingly dangerous and deadly situations. With a loving wife at home worrying if every day may be the last she sees of him, and his options running low, he knows something needs to change.
When Police Detective Patterson begins to suspect that the Mayor of Garland Cove may be gathering evidence against him as part of an anti-corruption investigation, he hatches a plot to make him untouchable. This plot involves Shane, a bank robbery and an arsenal of guns. What could possibly go wrong?
The first thing that impresses when you begin reading Garland Cove is how quickly things zip along. The writing is tight and straightforward, giving enough to set the scene but keeping things pacy and engaging. Sheldon is clearly a talented writer and her style here is very economical. It feels like each word has been carefully selected, not a single one allowed to go to waste and the end result is a rich story filled with three-dimensional characters that are rare to see in works ten times this length. The amount of story that is packed into only 41 pages is astonishing and it feels like you’re getting a novel's worth of action and intrigue in a story you can comfortably consume in a single sitting.
Speaking of action, there is no shortage of that on offer either. Once we’re introduced to all of the main players and things start to play out, the book becomes the literary equivalent of riding a rollercoaster blindfolded. You’re strapped in for the ride, have no idea where you’re going, but it is a hell of a lot of fun. The body count is impressive, the twists and turns never seem to stop, and the whole piece becomes to feel increasingly cinematic. It is tantalisingly easy to picture Shanes exploits as a particularly explosive hour of television.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t circle back to Shane or, indeed, the whole cast of characters. The author has a great knack for making everyone distinct, engaging and complex. A few lines, a passing mention of a character’s quirk, or some brief insight into their thought process and you feel as if you know them. It was a joy to spend time with these people, however brief.
Garland Cove is everything a fan of crime fiction could want, particularly those who prefer their stories jam-packed full of action and suspense. The pacing is lightning fast, the story at once complex and thoroughly engaging and the characters stick in the memory despite the brief page time afforded to most of them. Everything the synopsis promised was there, and then some, and I can’t recommend this highly enough to anyone in the market for a quick, fun read.
Richard started reading horror books at a young age, starting with R L Stine’s ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Point Horror’ series. He traumatised himself at the age of twelve when he read Stephen King’s ‘IT’, and never looked back. He is currently based in the UK, where he lives with his partner, and an inappropriate amount of books.