- The Nick of Time
- Troy Lambert
- Stuart Gustafson
- February 25, 2021
- Joseph L. Stevenson
- Capital City Murders #6 – 10
This is a collection of my individual reviews from books 6 – 10
I’m noticing the writing is getting better. It’s less about feeling the need to insert a mystery into a story about a guy taking pictures of capital buildings. This time around, it focused a lot more on making Interesting Protagonist into an actually interesting person for a change.
In one area the writing is lacking though. It’s showing the author(s) age(s), as they refer to women as “gals”, dinner as “supper” and use the word tiff. I’ve only ever heard 1 other person use the word tiff and that was a decade ago. He referred to it as “1940s slang”, which I have no idea if that’s accurate, but seeing as how seldom used it is, it seems unlikely a young guy like Interesting would know it.
Overall, the narration was alright. The narrator still doesn’t know the difference between O and 0. There’s no such thing as “19O5”. In general, his voice can be lacking at times. Often when male characters were talking, it was difficult to tell who was speaking as they sounded the same. In other instances, the female characters were given the same voice, which didn’t help.
Since this is the second book in a row where Interesting Protagonist is starting to get a little interesting, I think he has earned a name. I think Shaggy because he’s skinny and tall, but mostly because these books remind me of Scooby-Doo mysteries.
I noticed a lot of attention to detail in book 7, maybe it was there previously, but I’ve never taken note of it. Though I still remember Shaggy’s 50 MB SSD or whatever it was from book 1. In one instance, Shaggy internally corrects somebody who refers to photographs as pictures. So I later found it stupid that he referred to a news clip as “film”. Who the hell is using film in the modern-day age? Another instance of this anachronistic and antiquated dialogue was a few books back when he mentioned “rewinding” a digital video. Other instances of outdated language in these books, make the writing sound sloppy.
I think the writers are doing a better job of mixing Shaggy’s personal life with the mystery. The mystery doesn’t occupy the entire story, nor does it just show up and resolve itself like it did in one of the previous books.
Overall, the narrator did a good enough job. He’s not going to win any awards for this narration and if he does, he should give them back. But overall, it was a passable job.
This story gets the award for the dumbest line I’ve ever read in a book. “Ghosts didn’t usually leave footprints.” Is that because they’re not real, or because even if they were, they lack a physical body? Stupid lines aside, this story is on par with the last few in the series. Shaggy’s friend, Velma makes an appearance for the first time in a while, though Daphne is only mentioned.
The mystery was pretty good, and it didn’t push Shaggy’s photography off to the side in the process. There was a plot point about a ticket shaggy received in a previous story that I’d forgotten about which was worked into the story nicely.
The narration was alright, as always. The narrator doesn’t know the difference between O and zero, which I find stupid and annoying. There are also some serious audio issues in chapter 9. It sounded as if multiple recordings were layered on top of each other.
Another decent mystery story from this series. It really pushed the taking pictures of the capital half of the plot to the side. I don’t think it’s possible to make Wyoming interesting and I think the writers knew that as well, so they didn’t try; opting to focus on an interesting mystery. The guilty party is easy to figure out, but it’s more about how Shaggy gets there than the who did it? aspect. He also talked about meeting Velma and Daphne in the next book, so that’ll be interesting.
As always, the narrator did a decent enough job. Though I’m never going to stop complaining about his inability to tell O and 0 apart. it’s extremely annoying.
Once again, I find the use of the word “supper” to be out of place. I don’t know anybody in the age range of these characters who use that word. The authors did a good job of working the mystery into the plot while not shoving Shaggy’s friends off to the side. It’s nice to see Velma and Daphne make appearances and get some character development.
While I’m not super into the taking pictures of buildings aspect of the story, it does get pushed off to the side a little but this time around. It seems as if there’s rarely a balance between that aspect of the story, the mystery, and character development.
As usual, the narrator does a passable job. I never had an issue telling who was speaking, but it wasn’t anything special.
NOTE: This copy was provided to me free of charge as a digital review copy. The opinions stated in this review are mine and mine alone, I was not paid or requested to give this book a certain rating, suggestion, or approval.