Publication Date: January 4, 2014
In Stateline (Detective Noir Mystery Series) by Dave Santon, Dan Reno is hired by a powerful man to find his son’s killer. He soon finds cops on the take willing to do anything to stop him. Can Dan find the killer and manage to stay alive? Stateline is the sixth book in the Dan Reno series.
I once attended a networking event where the speaker was a writer. “Don’t tell me the sunset is beautiful,” she advised, “tell me why you think it’s beautiful.” The tagline for Stateline is “A fast-paced thriller you won’t be able to put down.” The tagline combined with the description just throwing out the names of successful thriller writers who, let’s be fair, are VERY different (Lee Child, Rob Sinclair, David Baldacci, Mark Dawson, Michael Connely and David Archer) is a bit off-putting from the outset to this reader. It’s not perhaps a smart idea for marketing as the book but is likely suggested by the algorithm for fans of those authors. I have not read any of the previous books in the series but there is an expectation built by the “bigging up” of the series in the description and, sadly, it’s an expectation unsatisfied.
There’s a lot of rough language in Stateline. Dan Reno is not a Dana Carvey Church Lady and while this reader is not personally offended by rough language, it will not be something every reader can overlook though it doesn’t appear gratuitous, reading as simply not toning down the character. If Fifty Shades of Gray is mommy porn, Stateline serves the same purpose for that lame guy who tells a story in which he thinks he looks like a badass, but you’re sitting across the table from him thinking “Yeah, that happened.” The initial murder is interesting as is the corruption story line though Dan’s doucheyness kind of leads the reader to want to see him suffer. There is an attempt at redemption in his story line that this reader simply doesn’t believe. There is also one of those love stories in the novel where the attraction is based on snap-together parts. The novel is not a romance so the inclusion reads as both an afterthought and, perhaps, a feeling of softness needed to appeal to a broader audience.
The bottom line is that Stateline is a very gritty read. If you don’t like the down and dirty, this isn’t going to be the book for you. Despite the distasteful protagonist, there’s a lot to recommend Stateline if you don’t mind getting a book that is extremely violent and an abundance of characters that run the gamut of societal stereotypes. Mostly Reno runs through the underbelly encountering people his readers imagine exist but hope to never meet.
Here’s the reality, if you need to like the characters you read and root for them, the Dan Reno series is not for you. If you like the raw and visceral (though Stanton’s descriptions, especially at the beginning of the book, can go on a little long) and get a thrill from the killer rampaging in horror films, give this mystery a shot.
Read an excerpt and buy Stateline (Dan Reno Detective Noir Mystery Series) by Dave Stanton