Welcome to Murder by the Book's blog about what we've read recently. You can find our website at www.mbtb.com.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Try Dying (hardcover, $21.99), by James Scott Bell

I like to skim the first couple of pages of the copies of books publishers send the store for review to see if anything catches my fancy right from the get-go. Very few do. In fact, some of my favorite books start off slow and don’t pick up speed until far into the book. Try Dying had me from the first paragraph. Before I knew it, it was page 50 and I was destined to read the whole thing.

Big L.A. law firm rising star Ty Buchanan had it all: prestigious job, nice home, beautiful fiancée. That was before a man shot himself on an overpass, flipped over the barrier, and landed on the car underneath being driven by Ty’s fiancée. The circumstances of her death seemed bizarre but straightforward. It wouldn’t be easy, but all Ty had to do was try to manage his grief and regain his life. Then a strange man tells Ty his fiancée was alive after the accident and the stranger knows who killed her. In the process of juggling his quest for vengeance and the lawsuit he is handling for his office, another person is murdered and Ty is the primary suspect.

Bell invests his book with a lot of snappy dialogue – sometimes a little too much snap, as barely a scene goes by without some sort of wisecracking comment from Ty. All in all, however, an engaging fast read with good characters – especially Sister Mary -- a nice hand at depicting grief, and an authentic feel to the legal word fights.

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