This is another first novel, and it’s another top-notch debut, as well. Tyler Dilts’ A KING OF INFINITE SPACE is narrated by Long Beach Police Department homicide detective Danny Beckett. Beckett and his partner, Jennifer Tanaka, along with a number of other cops, are assigned to investigate the murder of a high school English teacher who was stabbed to death in her classroom while staying late at the school to grade papers.
Like all good police procedurals, this novel takes the investigation step by step, as the cops gradually peel back the layers of the plot. At the same time, Beckett has to deal with all the personal ghosts and demons that plague him. If this sounds a little like Harry Bosch, it should. Dilts has acknowledged that Michael Connelly is one of his favorite authors. What saves A KING OF INFINITE SPACE from being a pale imitation of one of Connelly’s novels is that Dilts’ prose has its own voice, and it’s a good one. The plot is appropriately twisty, the dialogue is both humorous and poignant (sometimes in the same line), and the characters are well-drawn. What this book really has going for it, though, is that sheer, indefinable storyteller’s knack that keeps the reader turning the pages to find out what happens next. It’s really very well-paced and leads up to a fine and satisfying ending.
As I commented about John Verdon’s THINK OF A NUMBER, I have a hunch this is the first book in a series. I certainly hope so. A KING OF INFINITE SPACE gets a high recommendation from me, and I’m ready to read Tyler Dilts’ next novel.
Back Cover adventures of POPEYE (1943-44)
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