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Book Review: The Missing Element by John L. Betcher

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After a myriad of long-winded and tedious novels I have been reading of late, this was a good respite. The author seems to be of the minimalist school of novel writing and this reader rather appreciates it. At a little under 300 pages, minimally filled, this book reads rather quickly. That is not say that its contents are lightweight at all. If anything the brevity of the prose lends itself to moving the plot along in a timely manner.

This is a very visual novel which reads as if it would make a rather good movie or TV episode. Now it's not exactly an action filled blockbuster, but there is enough on show to keep one interested. It's a rather gentle read that, while never gets boring, is not as frenetic as some novels can be.

If there is any criticism it is that the plot is a tad obvious and predictable. An experienced reader will have the baddie flagged instantly. The main characters, a couple, come across as a bit like the pair in the TV show Hart to Hart, if less wealthy and daft. The associated characters are just full enough to work without loads of detail to slow things down. That said, when it's written as well as this novel it doesn't really matter a jot.

This is a perfect book for a read across the Atlantic or the US. Not heavy on details nor too wordy; it's just about right for a leisurely read. It would make good reading for a trip to the shore this summer.

As it's subtitled, "A James Becker Mystery," sequels are a bit of given.

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About Marty Dodge

  • Richard East

    John Betcher has written an extremely realistic yarn that is fast-paced and entertaining. It stacks up well against the best sellers of this genre, which is remarkable considering it’s Mr. Betcher’s first published novel. He’s created characters that look ripe for a long run in the vein of Patterson, Sanford et al. I’m actually pleased I purchased a first edition that I plan to keep in mint condition. That way when the “James Becker Mysteries” are national best sellers I can sell my first edition and retire!