05 August 2011

Book Review: Death Before Swine

Death Before Swine: Ben Hart Mysteries #1 by V. K. Scott

Death Before Swine (Ben Hart Mysteries #1)I received this book through the Member Giveaway at LibraryThing.com.

Ben Hart was a science teacher in a small town when his classroom was bombed, his friend nearly was killed, and another teacher was killed. To top it off, he was fired. So, now unemployed, he turns his curiosity in to why things happen into an investigation of the murder, which leads to more trouble than he bargained for.

This book was a fine, light mystery. The characters, such as Ben Hart, were made more interesting because of their flaws. The dialog was crisp, with enough non-dialog included to follow the conversations. The plot had many interesting turns and subplots to hold a reader's attention. And the mystery's solution was actually a surprise to me. As a former teacher myself, it was interesting to see how a teacher was portrayed in writing.

Having said that, I did find the book either lacking or too much. I would say lacking in that there needed to be more development of some of the characters and explanations of their behavior. The transition from teacher to detective was a missed opportunity to explore Hart's personality. The narrative and descriptive sections were too brief -- only 2-3 sentences per paragraph in many areas -- and could have provided a lot more details. The too much would be concerning the plot, which I found to be too complicated to believable at times. Each time I felt the story was heading towards a conclusion, a new wrinkle in the story popped up. After about the third one, I began to wonder if any of this would ever be resolved, and some of them weren't. The plot felt very contrived.

Overall, while I did enjoy reading the book -- I like a light mystery now and then -- I won't re-read it. The author has potential and I would consider looking at a second book. (This was a first novel.)  )

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