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The Spike (Matthew Iden)

The Spike - Matthew Iden
4.25 stars

The fourth book in Iden's Marty Singer Mysteries opens with action -- Marty becomes (one of the) eyewitness of a horrific murder when a woman is pushed in front of a moving train at Waterfront Metro station. The victim's family then asks Marty to help investigate the case, after the police department can't give a satisfying answer to the case due to lack of evidence and information. Initially, Marty refuses -- until a financial problem makes Marty reconsiders. After taking the case, Marty discovers that the murder is just a tip of the iceberg of a more complex and corrupt system surrounding public housing and renovation projects in Washington D.C....

Well, The Spike is another winner coming from Matthew Iden -- I seriously LOVE this series to bits!! While I didn't think of it as perfect as the previous book, due to an appearance of previous character, whom I still not sure was needed, this book still rocked my socks off for various of reasons.

First of all, the opening. My GOD, that was a very effective first chapter. Imagine yourself an eyewitness of someone being pushed into a moving train! *shudders* I use train to commute from my house to the office every day (here in my hometown, Jakarta), and it's a scenario that can happen!

Second, the revelation of the corrupt system surrounding the murder -- I definitely learned a LOT from this book. From the insane hospital bill (which forces Marty to accept the case) to the complexities of commercial real-estate deals, their brokers, white-shoes firm, investments, up to campaign donations. And I thought Iden writes ALL of this very smoothly. I could understand the explanation easily for a topic that it's pretty much new to me.

Third, I LOVED the secondary plot of Marty helping his adopted daughter, Amanda, while her workplace dealing with a boyfriend threatening his ex. I didn't know whether the term "adopted" means that Marty legally adopt Amanda -- considering that she's a female adult already -- or just a figure of speech. Whatever it is, the development of Amanda becoming Marty's daughter is something that made me very happy. Amanda is a very important person in Marty's life. So Marty's concerns about Amanda, about what happened at her workplace, including how Marty deals with the problem (which results in a very ass-kicking scene of Marty facing a senator!), are all winning moments for me.

Fourth, the development of Marty's cancer remission ... I thought Marty's post-remission blues is a really good topic (another thing I learned about in this book). I'm happy that Marty's health problem is not magically disappear because that will be unreal considering his type of disease.

The only plot that I wasn't sure about -- as I mentioned above -- was the thing with Julie Atwater. Even now, I still wasn't really sure if her character (or the idea of Marty wanting to fix things with her) is needed. This is a series which I think will do fine without any hint of romance. I prefer Marty spending time with Amanda or any of his friends -- Dods, Bloch, Rhee -- rather than the idea of Marty and Julie together again *shrugs*

In any case, I can't believe I only have one novel and one novella left of Marty Singer mysteries. I'm going to miss Marty until the next book comes along.


The book is provided by Thomas & Mercer publishing via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.