Saturday, November 29, 2014

Book Review: "Things in Ditches" (Jimmy Olsen)

Phillip "Dutch" Cleland is a philandering husband whose unfaithfulness with a many-times-divorced-and-remarried woman, Vicky Johnson, leads inevitably to her murder.

Dutch flees the town he's always known and the humiliation he'd face if he were to be accused of the murder and takes refuge in the middle of nowhere to sort through his options.

Meanwhile, back in Willow River, an entire cast of colorful characters (including but certainly not limited to a developmentally disabled but personable young man; a sheriff with a political agenda in every public appearance; a chief of police whose single-minded focus on one suspect leaves him unaware of other possibilities; and several of the murder victim's ex-husbands, each more startling than the last) contributes to finding the killer and solving the mystery.

Written with unexpected humor, the precise diction that reveals an expert writer, and an excellent sense of how to maintain tension and keep a reader turning pages far into the night, Things in Ditches is author Jimmy Olsen's first mystery novel.

In truth, you'll enjoy the work if you like mysteries, suspense, thrillers, and crime fiction --- all of these genres make an appearance, seamlessly woven together into a coherent presentation whose conclusion, with all ends neatly tied together, will leave you wondering how you missed the clues that (then) seem terribly obvious.

Olsen is a versatile writer, working just as fluidly in nonfiction as in many fiction genres. (Check out my review of his short story collection, The Hero of Blind Pig Island, here.)

Nevertheless, it was clear from the very first sentence of Things in Ditches that he had done his homework and lived with the characters and the plot line for a long while, enough to ensure that his reader would feel as immersed as possible in the story.

With nothing else to critique in a constructive sense, I would simply note that future editions of the work would benefit from a quick final proofread before publication to ensure that the periodic typos and missed commas I came across won't pull future readers out of the story.

Twist after twist will keep you reading until long after you probably should have closed the book and gotten to bed, but the experience is more than worth the trouble a few sleepless nights could cause. It's a pleasure to highly recommend this book for your reading list.

# # #

Author: Jimmy Olsen
Title: Things in Ditches
Purchase here:

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please do not hesitate to leave a comment or a question. Include links to your blog, website, Twitter, and other social media so I can link back!