Review #8 – The Scavenger’s Daughter: A Tyler West Mystery by Mike McIntyre
I love mystery thrillers, especially ones where the villain is a serial killer. However, after finishing this book (and having my last three or so books be a similar genre), I need a little break from this genre. Tyler West is a Pulitzer-prize winning investigative journalist, working for one of the top newspapers in San Diego. He has been pushed out of position at the paper because of public pressure following his Pulitzer-prize piece which exposes scandal in the San Diego Police Department. The paper’s owner, in an act of vengeance, has Tyler cover the society section. His first story is the opening of a Medieval Museum, featuring torture devices used during the inquisition. Tyler is there as a prominent member of San Diego society is murdered in one of the torture devices. More murders follow and Tyler quickly begins investigating the story.
The plotline sounds incredibly dark and gruesome, and it is in some areas, but the tone of the story is fairly light. It is told from Tyler’s first-person perspective, intertwined with scenes told from the serial killer’s third-person perspective. This makes it somewhat interesting, as we know what the killer is thinking and doing. However, as the story goes on and the killer’s identity revealed he becomes almost a comedic villain. There is some allusion that he may have some organic reason for killing, but this conflicts with the fleshing out of his motives and childhood behaviors. Tyler West is a relatively interesting protagonist: He lives in a clay hut on the beach, is an ex-golf pro, and is in love with a woman he knew 12 years ago. He is also, at points, a complete idiot. He accused at least 3 people of being the killer and was completely certain each time. He goes off on all these ventures to confront the possible killer with no weapons or actual plan. He also, not surprisingly, is not in favor with the local police. They are also portrayed somewhat ridiculously… Tyler presents them with the possibility of who the killer could be, and at least twice they blow him off and do not bother to investigate.
The initial investigation is fun and interesting, but as Tyler gets over his head I began to disconnect from the story. The last quarter or so was just too much for me — the killer becomes more ridiculous, and Tyler more of an idiot. The climax tried too hard to bring in action, rather than focusing in on fear which would be much better suited to this type of killer. Overall, I enjoyed the book up until the end but it has inspired me to take a break from this dark stuff and finally finish my Tim Gunn book.
This was a Kindle book which I got for free as an Amazon Prime user.