A brilliantly engineered plot June 17, 2018
A brilliantly engineered plot, intertwined with some of the dark undercurrents of the early and mid-20th century eugenics subculture. Light’s plot development and pacing are superb, as are the character development and his treatment of complex human emotions, not to mention his effortless incorporation of technology into the problem solving surrounding this riveting who-done-it mystery. His reflective descriptions of the environs, lifestyles, weather, and even the felines are equally captivating, and the plot resolution is both tidy and very clever, concluding with a heartwarming epilogue to boot. This is Light’s third adventure in his Smalltown Mystery series, all three of which I can heartily recommend.
A great read June 6, 2018
I just got my third Shep Harrington book in the mail and enjoyed it thoroughly. Intelligently written with fun dialogue, both the mystery and the further development of the Poor Farm concept and characters really interested me. I’m looking forward to future Shep adventures!
A compelling mystery that I recommend. February 13, 2019
The Gene Police by Elliott Light is a well-crafted story with a complex plot that brings to light a harsh reality many American’s probably won’t relish taking a closer look at. I’m not going to tell you what that reality is… you will have to read the book for yourself to understand what I am talking about, but I will say that I couldn’t help but nod my head in agreement with Mr. Light this morning when I realized he had a very valid point involving “eugenics”. If you aren’t familiar with that term right now, you will be by the end of this book. His dedication at the beginning of the story certainly hints at what is to come.
“To all those persecuted, harassed, bullied, kicked around, and otherwise treated unfairly because of the color of their skin, the shape of their face, or the slant of their eyes.”
As you read, or listen to the book…whichever method you choose. Try to remember that much of what Mr. Light discusses actually happened here in the United States. It is a part of our American History, a part of what contributed to the Holocaust, a contributing factor to our chaotic political environment and in that sense it is a part of our present as well.
The main character, Shep Harrington is a good man with a troubled past who just seems to continually be drawn into situations he really should steer clear of. This he and his law partner Robbie are asked by a friend to look into who took some old photographs. They agree and a twisted and gnarled plot begins to open up, leading the reader into a dark and gruesome past; a past that has been buried for 50 years and one that many want to remain buried.
Shep, is a complicated man. He’s been on both sides of the law. He also recently inherited a ton of money from his estranged father and could live very well off of it, yet instead he chooses to live in a run-down house rather than the mansion on his property where his elderly “residents” live. He could do anything, live anywhere…instead he has his sights set on re-opening a Poor Farm to help others. His willingness to help others along with his simple lifestyle are probably the only thing that saves him when the Tax Man comes calling with a bill of $750,000 in unpaid taxes….courtesy of his now deceased famous father.
What’s not to like about a character like that? Shep sees himself as a dark and troubled man and yes he has a complicated past. However he doesn’t turn anyone away who is in need of assistance…that makes him complex true, but I don’t quite feel his darkness perhaps that’s more apparent in the previous books in this series. Instead I get more of a feel for his generosity and good heart.
Oh, and Shep has cats…lots of cats; just a few more creatures in need of help that he doesn’t turn away. These critters end up being a fun addition to the book too. I don’t say that just because I love cats (don’t judge me) but because they become tertiary characters due to how Mr. Light treats them. He does the same with the house Shep initially lives in at the beginning of the book, that too becomes a character in and of itself and becomes an integral to the plot at the end of the story.
As to the pace of this story, I really liked that. It rolls along at a steady pace, keeping the reader wanting to see what happens next and never losing the reader’s attention during the parts with less action. Not once did I find my mind wandering or wonder when the pace would pick up.
The resolution to the story was also very clever, I loved. No, I’m not going to elude to what it was…but it was clever.
If I had to pick something to criticize it would be this, character names. Yeah, I know I’m a picky picky bugger but it is something that came to my attention.
In this story we have two pretty important characters named Robbie and Reggie. Now, this may seem silly to bring up since one is a female lawyer and a potential love interest and the other is a male State Trooper but the names being so similar kept giving me slight pause. That’s a minor thing to point out and I’m not sure I even truly realized it was an issue until I sat down to write this review and found that I kept trying to call Robbie….Reggie in my mind when I would go back over the story in my head.
Over all though, I really loved this story and give it 4.5 out of 5 Stars.
A very good read June 14, 2018
I enjoyed reading Gene Police. At no time did I find myself thinking ‘this is boring!’ or ‘this is dragging on!’ The story didn’t drag its feet at the start like some books do, it grabbed my interest quickly. It is a compelling read. I liked the development of the main character Shep and his close friend Robbie. There are many characters and some are intricate, therefore this isn’t a quick read. Rather a book that needs, and deserves full concentration. The story is complex and isn’t the type of novel that you can skim through, you really need to read and understand what is happening to grasp the story. The history surrounding Eugenics and white supremacy was fascinating and added complexity and significance to the story. The editing is satisfactory, as well is the grammar. My only suggestion would be that as there are many characters in the book, occasionally I got a little lost with the similar character names, and with what position they played in the story at that time.
Overall I rate this book 4/5.
My thanks to the author and Sage from the Reading Room for a copy of Gene Police in return for my review.
Intriguing, well written and filled with today’s burning issues May 29, 2018
“Elliott Light has written a fascinating murder-mystery. I found myself getting annoyed with my schedule when I had to break away from reading it. Shep Harrington, the protagonist is sufficiently quirky, intelligent, ethical, and marked by an old-fashion humanity that’s rarely found these days. But equally important were the historical references, including eugenics experiments that occurred in the United States and around the world that many people either didn’t know about or have chosen to forget. As an African-American, I was reminded of the various experiments on black people in the name of so-called medical research and became enraged anew. Fortunately, I was not alone. All of the characters in Light’s novel were equally repulsed. (No 35 percenters there.) Light provided a glimpse of that era and effectively used it to explore some of the current issues of white supremacy, racism, and economic inequality, which made the novel even more interesting for me. Without giving it away, I thought the most powerful and thought-provoking aspect of Light’s intriguing and entertaining novel may have been its ending. It hinted, in my view, of Richard Wright’s Native Son.”
“An intriguing, fascinating, and entertaining murder-mystery that explores some of today’s most burning issues: white supremacy, eugenics, racism, and economic inequality.”
A terrific read that also makes you think May 26, 2018
It’s a real page-turner, with Shep Harrington back in top form unraveling a mystery that only gets more compelling as you read on. And it comes with a huge bonus: the book shines a light into a part of American history, the eugenics movement, that cries out to be more widely known. Elliott Light holds up a social issue to the light, while creating engaging characters and a can’t-put-it-down story. I enjoyed the book enormously, and it’s stayed with me more than other books because of this extra dimension. Highly recommended.
I enjoyed the believable June 10, 2018
This was the first novel I read by Elliott Light, but it was not the last. I was intrigued by the premise, the setting and the characters, and immediately ordered his first and second novels. I enjoyed the believable, complex, sometimes bizarre characters with realistic and entertaining dialogue. I find dialogue which reveals the characters involves me as a reader more than descriptive prose, though physical descriptions are also important and very present. It is a compelling drama about the not-too-distant past. As a novelist myself, I like to delve into the “what if” side of storytelling with roots in real history, particularly the evolution of racial attitudes in the U.S. without the intrusion of “soap box” rhetoric.
Fun new writer August 16, 2018
Very interesting book with an unusual theme. Appealing main character and small town setting. Let’s see more from this author!
I thoroughly enjoyed this read and do recommend any of you out … May 27, 2018
I became interested in reviewing this book due to some prior knowledge of the eugenics movement. The author Elliot D. Light does an astounding job of bringing the reality of this destructive, shabby, non-science to the minds of the reader. Set in the style of a mystery read, the beginning takes off with more questions to the reader than ever. I felt compelled to continuing diving into this read.
Not only that but Light helps the reader to understand the racial dynamics of the past. In light of understanding the racial dynamics in the United States in the 1950’s, this book also helps spread justice to racial destruction in today’s world too. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and do recommend any of you out there that wants to turn fast pages and have inquiring minds to pick this one up.
I really liked the fact that everything started out as a mystery that I just had to solve! I really look forward to other works written by Light.
I rate this 5 Stars out of 5!