Review: Grave Situation by Alex MacLean

(Note: Grave Situation was a LibraryThing Member Giveaway. It can be found on Amazon & Smashwords.)

Grave Situation is not the kind of book I normally pick up off the shelf. Generally speaking, I tend to stick to the realm of urban fantasy when looking for a detective-style yarn, although I do enjoy procedural crime TV shows on occasion.

The story is gripping, dark (dark dark dark) and draws you in even as you find yourself both fascinated and disgusted. Clearly, Mr. MacLean knows his crime fiction, and based on his apparent knowledge of the processes and procedures regarding everything from following a lead to an autopsy, may have first-hand experience. Everything was very convincing, and the plot expertly constructed. It is disturbing at times, with a relentlessly grim vision of the world and its main character, and achieves an excellent level of verisimilitude.

On the technical side, this book feels like one which is just teetering on the knife-edge of that polished, professional level that we’re all unconsciously looking for in a book. The formatting of the ePub version has no hyper-linked chapters, meaning that when I was using my online reader (Bookworm by O’Reilly) I was not able to close the window, as I would lose my place – and the one time that Firefox crashed on me, I had to manually click through the chapters in order to return to where I was. Also, I noticed a few minor typos, and one word confusion in a prominent place at the beginning of the book (‘except’ instead of ‘accept’).

Grave Situation is an engaging, gripping, psychological mystery that questions the wisdom of giving your whole life to your profession, and what happens when that whole house of cards comes crumbling down.

Final Score: 4 out of 5. Excellent story & just a few technical flaws.


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