Rick Soper’s The Bainbridge Killings is a novella prequel to his debut The Rock Star novel, part of a four book series starring the FBI agent, Jon Stevens. The book surprisingly contains a 15 chapter sample of The Rock Star. That excessively long sample means that the denouement comes as a huge surprise as it happens at a time when the reader will think that there is nearly half of the novella still to go. It also occurs at the point at which the murder mystery storyline appears to be taking off. It would have been possible for the novella to take up the eBook’s 124 pages, as the conclusion packs in a lot of detail that could have been slowly drawn out to create a novel with a lot more mystery to it. The impression is given of a novella written to promote Soper’s debut novel and yet there was the material here to turn it into a more satisfying novel in its own right.
Soper’s writing style is good and the narrative was well-paced until the somewhat rushed denouement. Those who know Bainbridge Island and Greater Seattle well may find the few location errors a mild distraction, but in general Soper gives a good depiction of this dormitory island community that is a short ferry ride from the city of Seattle. The novella contains a good mix of mystery, investigation, and action that should appeal to those will varying tastes within the genre.
Overall, this novella feels displays the promise in Soper’s writing, but it disappoints because the priority was on writing a shorter piece in order to accommodate a very lengthy sample. The plot was inventive, although some points stretched credulity a bit too much (but then so did Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie). Nonetheless, it suggests that Soper had the basis of a much better novel than the novella that he has written.
© Mercia McMahon 2014