Book Review: The Big Keep

Book Review: The Big Keep (Lena Dane Mysteries #1) by: Melissa F. Olson

I give this book four out of five stars for depth of characters, an entertaining hard to put down read, and a plot that had my mind wrapped up in it when I wasn’t reading the book.

What I liked about the book:

1) The plot, In The Big Keep, the author drops you into Lena’s life and it is quirky and real in all the right ways. As a private investigator Lena takes on a missing person’s case that turns into something unanticipated. The mystery twists and turns, as does her personal life during the reunion of a tragedy that changed her life five years before.

2) The characters, I liked them all. From the protagonist to the minor characters, each one is brought to life in a way that is real and interesting. Olson has a talent for the subtleties and the natural flow of human interactions. This is apparent in the first chapter of the book, and it is not lost as the book progresses.

3) The dialog was sincere and related the relationships between the characters without the narrative ever having to do so. Each character had a unique and clear voice.

What I didn’t like about the book:

1) There were some things an editor should have caught. There were random typo’s throughout the work. Most glaring was the war’s a certain bad guy fought in did not correspond to the wars his bad guy partner fought in. There is a large gap in time between someone fighting three tours in Vietnam and three tours in Iraq. West Point graduates officers, not snipers. This might seem like a nit-picky detail to some, but these things matter a lot to others. It would be a shame for a paragraph to discredit the total work, which I happened to really enjoy. If the book is revised in the future I recommend just taking that paragraph out.

2) There were two scenes that hit hard against my wall of suspended disbelief. While I liked the scene where Lena faces one of her demons, it was a little far fetched for me. If she was going to do it, I don’t think she would have left her insurance box of evidence rolling around on his steps. I also don’t think she would have ever been granted access to a “notorious prisoner” in a federal facility. If she had I don’t think the conversation would have gone that well.

Lena Dane is one of the best female cop characters I have encountered. Ms. Olson you have won a new fan in me and I can’t thank you enough for bringing a real woman law enforcement professional to life.