Amazon discontinued the ability to create images using their SiteStripe feature and in their infinite wisdom broke all previously created images on 12/31/23. Many blogs used this feature, including this one. Expect my archives to be a hot mess of broken book cover images until I can slowly comb through 20 years of archives to make corrections.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Review: One Day You'll Burn

I know. I promise one day I'll get back to blogging about romance, but the problem right now seems to be having no spoons for eyeball-reading. This means my continued Clean Out Old Suspense ARCs via Library Audiobook Loans is what's keeping this blog afloat in new content. Latest on the hit parade is One Day You'll Burn by Joseph Schneider, a debut back in 2020 and the first in a series featuring former history doctoral candidate turned LAPD homicide detective, Tully Jarsdel. 

Tully made detective in record time thanks to his book smarts, something that rankles some of his fellow officers in the small, elite Hollywood Homicide division.  He's still finding his way when he and his seasoned partner, Morales, catch a weird one.  A burned corpse found at the base of a sacred statue in Thai Town. Turns out though the corpse wasn't burned - he was baked.  And their only witness is an Oxy addict who isn't eager to share what paltry details he does know. With politicians and departmental brass breathing down their necks, the case soon takes them to the seedy tourist trap that is Hollywood Boulevard.

I'm glad I decided to listen to this one because had I tried to eyeball read the buried ARC I had I either would have 1) skimmed large chunks or 2) given up.  You've got Tully's Pretentious AF parents who had their child's life mapped out for him before he was even born, so when he breaks off his basically arranged engagement and leaves behind academia to become a cop, they're both kind of assholes about it.  And because his two dads (yes, they're gay) are academics and Tully is a recovering academic, the author takes the reader down more than a few lecturing, pontificating rabbit holes that bog down the pacing and frankly are only there to beef up the word count.  I know this because the author beefs up the word count further by having not just one, but two cases for our hero to work on.  The second one is a serial cold case of someone poisoning couples' dogs on their wedding days.

The poisoned dogs case gives Tully a love interest, who is just as pretentious as he is (she's some sort of professional organizer because this is Los Angeles and of course she is) and hand to God readers get regaled with a "it's OK I'm on the pill and clean" first sex scene.  At least we're spared a surprise pregnancy - although I can't speak to Book 2.  Further proof that this nonsense can happen anywhere, not just in the romance genre.

What does work about this book is the world-building. It's quintessential LA right down to all the pretentiousness and seedy edges you'd expect. I also liked Tully's partner, Morales - a fairly stereotypical cop character who at first resents (that might be too strong a word though?) his new partner for jumping ahead so quickly up the promotional ladder, but who eventually warms up to him.

For all the pontificating and pseudo-intellectualism (have I mentioned I found most of the characters pretentious?), the ending careens into straight-up schlocky horror movie territory.  Honestly it's a little jarring and doesn't entirely fit the story that preceded it, but in a strange way it kind of works and kept me glued to my earbuds.  I'm not entirely sure if I'll read the next two books in the series but I'm a little tempted since Book 3 takes place on Catalina Island. Maybe once I wrap up this current listening project.

Oh, and they catch the dog murderer.

Final Grade = C


azteclady said...

"Further proof that this nonsense can happen anywhere, not just in the romance genre."

oh how I cackled.

Though, funnily enough ::cough:: I'm not even the least bit tempted to try this one myself.

Jill said...

- it's OK I'm on the pill and clean" first sex scene. At least we're spared a surprise pregnancy - although I can't speak to Book 2. (Chekov's sex scene. . .)

Maybe it's just my generation, but these type of scenes make me so cranky. I was used to seeing them from older books and older authors, but now I'm seeing them from a wave of much younger authors too. Maybe it's b/c they've grown up with HIV as being this serious but treatable thing? Which is great, don't get me wrong, but when I read a contemporary book and people are cavalier about safe sex, particularly their first time, I usually think
1) these people are not very bright
2) these people don't actually respect and/or care for each other.

Making a passing reference to condom use is not some huge burden on the author and the story. I know it's a sex scene, not a PSA, but I don't find people who lack common sense sexy. Shrug. /End rant.

Anyways, better luck with the next story!

Wendy said...

AL: When I got to the first sex scene my eyes literally rolled into the back of my skull. I might have even groaned out loud.

Jill: They annoy me too! I was very young when the AIDS epidemic finally hit the nightly news, but it left an impression. And all you have to do is read the news - with STIs being up across the US and Europe. In 2022 syphilis cases in the US had increased by 80% over a five year period. An author doesn't have to expend a ton of creative energy to mention a condom, it's not like readers need a treatise on opening the packet, putting it on etc. etc.