This mystery reminded me of James Patterson. That might be good for author Grant Jerkins, since Patterson is a hot author these days, but it wasn’t a hit with me. The chapters are very short, which made the story choppy, and the characters felt superficial.
A Very Simple Crime is the story of two brothers. The wife of one ends up dead after being left alone with their son, a mentally retarded man prone to violence. Throw in a prosecutor who is desperate to regain his reputation after setting free a serial child killer and being relegated to processing traffic violations, and you have all the elements you need for a great thriller mystery - but for me, it didn’t get there. There was a lot of violence against women in this book, and I thought that it seemed gratuitous. Perhaps it was supposed to show the character (or lack thereof) of the two brothers, but I thought that Jerkins got carried away. I had high expectations for this book based on its reviews, but I was disappointed.
A Very Simple Crime has been optioned as a screenplay, and it almost seems like Jerkins was writing more for Hollywood than for the reader. It will probably make a better movie than it did a book. I wouldn’t read another one by him.
A Very Simple Crime by Grant Jerkins (Berkley Trade, 2010)
My rating: 2 stars