I’m a big fan of murder mystery stories, but for some reason I’ve never read a lot of them. I’m not entirely sure why that is – I guess I tend to lean toward sci-fi, fantasy and urban fantasy as my first reading preference, which leaves little time to read other genres. But I saw a brief description about Decisions on the KindleBoards (the author was after help with the blurb he was using on Amazon), and I thought it sounded fascinating. A few clicks later, and it was mine.
I’m very glad I bought it.
To start with the positives, R. Doug Wicker weaves an interesting murder mystery. The writing is clear, I found the dialog to be interesting and well written, and the story moved at a good pace without getting bogged down too much. I enjoyed how the clues for the mystery were mentioned in passing without making a huge song and dance about them, allowing observant readers to spot them right away and people who missed them to go “oh yeah, I remember something being mentioned about that”. One thing I can’t stand is authors that deliberately keep clues from the reader to prolong the “mystery” – thankfully Decisions doesn’t do that.
I don’t know if long-time mystery readers would find the mystery obvious. I worked out a number of the elements, but didn’t manage to figure out how everything all fitted together before the start of the final reveal. I thought the mystery of the story was well constructed, and it didn’t leave me feeling like there were huge holes in how things had happened.
I do have a few niggles with the book however. The main character is not particularly likable early on. He has his moments, but he comes across as an asshole quite strongly at the start. On the plus side he gets much more likable as the story progresses, but there were still a few times I wished I could reach into the story and slap him around a bit for the way he was acting.
Another comment I’d have about the start of the story is the main character goes on and on about the physical appearance of several women, and how terrible his situation is (both his mental state, and “oh my god there are beautiful women interested in me”). It felt like a hurdle I had to get over before the story really got going, but thankfully once that was past everything moved along smoothly.
Despite these flaws, I think overall the book was superb and I’d happily recommend it to anyone who likes murder mysteries. I’d give it 4 and a half stars (docking half a star for the rough start), rounding up to 5 stars for Amazon.