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Dead Red

Nelson Andreu

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : American Book Publishing

Published : 2004

Copyright : Nelson Andreu 2003

ISBN-10 : PB 1-58982-117-3
ISBN-13 : PB 978-1-58982-117-0

Publisher's Write-Up

Detective Peter Copeland wakes up on the beach one morning with a killer headache and no clue how he came to be there. Before long, he discovers that the exotic redheaded stranger he met at a party the night before is washed up on the beach, dead.

What's this? Another detective mystery? But finally, here's one that departs from the mold. "Dead Red" is based on first-hand knowledge of solving mysterious deaths, thanks to author Nelson Andreu's twenty-two years in Miami's Homicide Unit. Readers who are curious about the workings behind crime investigations finally get what they want: insight on the inner workings of homicide (extracting answers from a reluctant witness, capturing an elusive fingerprint, distilling evidence from a mutilated victim) woven within an intriguing plot. Of course, Detective Copeland uncovers the answer - but that answer is what every cop dreads.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Chrissi (260304) Rating (8/10)

Review by Chrissi
Rating 8/10
This is the first novel by Nelson Andreu, an experienced Homicide Detective from Miami who is now retired. His aim in writing this novel was to reflect the true ups and downs of an ongoing police investigation. Whilst it is not something that I have ever thought to be missing in the work of other writers, the level of experience is reflected in Andreu’s book. In this way, I think that Linda Fairstein is probably the next best example that I can give to you, bringing her years of experience in the sex crimes bureau to bear on her fictional subjects.

In his blurb, Andreu says that he wanted to reflect the true pace and nature of a case, but without the leaps of intuition and faith that some fictional detectives get away with in their one-hour TV slots. I really think that he has succeeded in this, as this book is much like a CSI programme, owing more to the method of police work than the imagination of the author.

The book opens with Peter and what seems to be a massive hangover, but he has no recollection of drinking enough to deserve to feel that dreadful. He is told by Mary, his friend and the hostess of the party from the night before, that he left to walk along the beach with a red headed woman, only he did not return, and seems to have spent the night asleep in a hammock in the rain.

When he gets into work, he sees a report on a drowned woman who also has red hair, but who has not yet been identified. He recognises her but can only remember her first name, Anne. Digging into the case, he is aware that it looks bad for him as he has admitted that he was probably the last person to see her alive, and he knows that he will logically be the prime suspect. This is confirmed when he sees a car with men that he recognises from the Internal Affairs department following him. He feels the need to investigate the case and find out what really happened that night on the beach. To assist him he asks for the help of his long time partner, Joe and a friend in the FBI, Ralph.

The book reads really well, with the language flowing and no jarring editorial errors that make you have to re-read sentences to make sure that you have the right sense of them. I particularly liked the logical progression of ideas that maintain a timeline throughout the book. I have to admit though, that I was kind of second guessing the plotline, but I didn’t come anywhere near. The storyline will surprise you, and keep you guessing, but you have to read it just to find out what is going on. One of the nice things that I particularly appreciated is that it includes a bit about the trial at the end, whereas some books don’t, and it finished it up really neatly.

I would like to see more by Nelson Andreu, he could either develop the character of Peter Copeland, maybe like Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch, or a new detective. I think that this is definitely an author to watch for the future, but I understand that he is still working on the sidelines of law enforcement. I hope that he can find the time to write some more.
Chrissi (26th March 2004)

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