What happens when two bluesmen die under mysterious circumstances, an ex-ball player dies under violent circumstances and we have a duo of an cop(recently kicked by his former beau) and a “Polize-Goddess” (recently out of a violent illicit relationship) to solve the case? We get The Gone Dead Train by Lisa Turner. A decent sophomore effort that won’t make you sit up and take notice but which won’t make you yawn and roll your eyes either.
This book succeeds with mediocre but solid marks. Though being filled with clichéd moments involving blues music, voodoo, a cult called Santeria and downfall of an famous ball player, and clichéd characterisation in the protagonists of Memphis Detectives Billy Able, who comes out as a semi-renegade officer who pokes his nose into a case which is not his, and who is suffering from his girlfriend’s decision to open a bakery in Atlanta; and lady cop Frankie Malone who is eager to get promoted but fails to notice that getting into a relation with a married colleague might just prove to be a hurdle in her dreams.
With these the author decided to threw in some Memphis ambience, a civil rights lawyer and a deep connection with the civil rights movement, and the assassination of Dr. King. All these moments might have just turned sour, but the lady writing the book saved it. She with her style of writing kept the book fast and full of suspense. Apart from some loose ends regarding the deaths of the Bluesmen, and the modus operandi of the killer, the book was surprisingly fast. And because of this sole reason the book passes the test, as it scored on pace. And a thriller with good pace is always OK with me, even if it is garnished with a few loose ends.