Book Review: Hazardous Duty (Squeaky Clean Mysteries #1) by Christy Barritt
“Look, Nancy Drew. This isn’t your case.”
Great concept: agnostic crime scene investigator wantabee who dropped out of school because of family necessity starts crime scene cleanup firm. Unfortunately, both the writing and the plot fail to deliver. Needed another editing, especially of her philosophic musings. Good sense of place and time. Nice, relevant cover art.
“I didn’t want to be a know-it-all. I really didn’t. My best friend in college had been one, which drove me crazy, especially considering I knew more than she did.”
Gabby is an unsympathetic protagonist, perhaps not intentionally. She is stubborn and stupid. By rights she should have been dead several times.
“So far you’re the only sane one I’ve met.” “And I’m covered in ash, smell like smoke, and clean up after murders.” “My standards of sane are really low.”
The supporting cast is good, if they tend toward clichés. The action is questionable. For example, the story opens with Gabby pulling skull fragments from a wall. What CSI team would have left that behind? Not to mention oddly-placed droplets of blood.
“Who needed details when you had an imagination like mine?’
Quibbles: “Bottle-cap glasses”? Her heart throb of the moment flees to his fiancé’s home state? Gabby jumps to so many conclusions she should have been in the Olympics.
“Don’t leave the state or do anything stupid.” “Understood.” “Which part? The leaving or the stupid, because I don’t think you have a lot of control over the latter.”
The inevitable come-to-Jesus climax feels contrived. Whose plea for divine intervention as she’s being murdered meanders into theology and qualification? Not “Please Lord, help me. If you really are up there, like my friends say you are, I want to know you.”