Clean Slate

Clean Slate_JRRain_18068284




Jim Knighthorse is searching for Elvis. Well, not really, but close – he has been hired to determine if recent sightings of Freddie Calgary, a former child star, are legitimate. They shouldn’t be valid since Freddie was found dead two years ago. However, no autopsy was performed, the body was cremated prior to family being allowed to view the body and the pronouncing doctor has died in a mysterious auto accident. Therefore, the possibility that Freddie is still alive exists, at least in the mind of Freddie’s agent.

One day after the agent hires Knighthorse, the agent is brutally murdered. Even though Jim accepted a retainer, he legally has no case to pursue now that his client is dead. But because Jim accepted that retainer, he feels morally obligated to finish the job.

J. R. Rain writes a complex character doing a complex job. Knighthorse is physically large, physically fit and has a keen intelligence. He also has one leg held together by six pins and, if he is not an alcoholic already, he is teetering so close to that edge that the barest breath could push him over. And he has good reason to believe that Jack, the homeless man who has coffee with him at McDonald’s, is the physical incarnation of God.

If Rain had just stuck to action suspense with supernatural overtones, this would have been a 5-star entry – and about 30 pages shorter. As written, however, this story is a hodgepodge of current events, memories of past events from previous novels, tie-ins to events written into other Rain novels and series, and general emotional bloodletting. Details of some of the past events are repeated multiple times and several psychological issues are pursued repeatedly.

In the end, it felt as if Rain was using these previously published events and the repetitive browbeating to fill space and add length. Rain has recently, and publically, announced that he will cease writing his series and will concentrate on writing short stories. Perhaps, if he can dispense with the flashbacks and the repetitions, he will succeed.

Cover Art from Goodreads


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