Martin Rhodes

Created by Thomas Fincham

After a colossal screw-up that cost him his job, his marriage and ten years in the federal pen for murder that he — refreshingly — did commit, former Newport police homicide detective MARTIN RHODES needs a job. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of them out there for ex-cons, never mind ex-con disgraced cops.

And so, he’s taken to rambling from town to town, trying to find something… anything. Fortunately, he’s something of a shit magnet, and he usually finds something that utilizes his particular skill set and will end up paying. And then he wanders into Bridgeton FBI, and makes the acquaintance of Special Agent Johanna “Jo” Pullinger (whose cases seem to always, miraculously, intersect with Martin’s) and rebellious teenager and neighbour Tess (who wants to him to teach her how to be a detective) and resumes his friendship with Tom Nolan, the cop who helped him get sprung from prison early, and decides to stick around. He’s still not setting the world on fire — he’s driving a crappy car and living in a dumpy basement apartment, but he’s getting by.

The best thing you can say about these is that they’re fast reads. The writing is pretty generic, but Fincham does seem to have mastered not just the short chapter but the short paragraph as well, with most paragraphs never exceeding two or three sentences. His style isn’t so much clipped as mowed down to stubble, and he makes Robert B. Parker seem like William Faulkner. He’s also hell on multiple viewpoints — skipping merrily along from character to character, rarely touching down long enough to know — or care — about any of them. And when all those multiple viewpoints and tangled sub plots finally and invariably converge, a certain amount of suspension of belief may be required.

The first three books in the series, Close Your Eyes, Cross Your Heart and Say Your Prayers (all 2016), form a trilogy of sorts, but also gives Fincham an excuse to pad the already slight books by repeating details , descriptions, back stories and the like constantly — like, we’re treated to the info dump that Martin is “6’4,” weighs 220 pounds, and has salt-and-pepper hair and deep blue eyes — just like that, all in a clump — almost word for word at least once in each book, making the books seem like they were just as much cut-and-pasted as they were written.

The last book released, also in 2016, was Fear Your Enemy, a 20,000-word novella that serves as a prequel to the series.

Like so many of his hard-sell Amazonian brethren, Thomas Fincham is a multi-series author who just pumps them out — at least four or five a year, mostly thrillers, including the Lee Callaway private eye series. The author holds a degree in Economics, has lived in Africa, Asia, and North America, and currently lives in a hundred-year-old house.


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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