Anything can happen in the middle of nowhere.
The plot was full of rich, striking descriptions. The author’s ability to create such detailed sketches of the setting and characters was especially noticeable early on when Johnny Harwood first arrived at Herbie’s Diner. A few paragraphs were dedicated to describing this isolated little restaurant, and they transitioned smoothly into the explanation for what Johnny was doing there. I could easily picture exactly what the main character was seeing, feeling, and smelling, especially as he moved closer to the climax.
Several clues were revealed early on that made it easy for me to figure out what was going on. I would have preferred to have fewer hints about the ending. It was disappointing to have such a good idea of what the ending would probably be like so soon. Had this not been the case, I would have given this tale a much higher rating as it was otherwise enjoyable.
The pacing was strong and suspenseful. This is a heavily plot-based story that I couldn’t put down until I’d finished it. There was simply no obvious place to take a break from reading it, but that’s a good thing for something this length! While this wasn’t the first time I’ve read one of Mr. Shosty’s book, it did make me feel curious about everything he’s written that I haven’t picked up yet. From what I’ve seen from him so far, he does know how to keep this reader’s attention from the beginning to the end.
Give Herbie’s Diner a try if you like the style of classic crime fiction.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.