Title: The Big Fear
Author: Andrew Case
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: 1 April 2016
I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley
It’s August in New York, and the steaming garbage littering the streets isn’t the only thing that stinks.
Civilian investigator Leonard Mitchell can keep his job as the new head of the Department to Investigate Misconduct and Corruption only by successfully prosecuting veteran cop Ralph Mulino.
Mulino shot an armed man on a dark night; he didn’t know the man was a fellow cop. Now, to keep his badge and his freedom, he has to make his case to the investigator. But the gun Mulino saw in his victim’s hand has disappeared.
As Mitchell digs deeper into Mulino’s claim, it becomes clear that the “misconduct and corruption” infecting New York City go far beyond the actions of one allegedly dirty cop. Murder and sabotage force Mulino and Mitchell into an uneasy partnership to uncover the truth and protect the city they are both sworn to serve.
Assuming, of course, they can stay alive…
I really wanted to read The Big Fear because the blurb sounded so interesting. The element of the police being investigated, as opposed to doing the investigating themselves, was something I had never read before but sounded like it would make a good story. And it did. The Big Fear is a pretty good story and I enjoyed it.
The Big Fear is Andrew Case’s debut mystery novel. Ralph Mulino, a veteran NYPD cop, shoots an armed man on a cargo ship only to find out that the other guy was also a police officer. Leonard Mitchell is called in to investigate the situation and despite Mulino’s claims, no gun was recovered from the scene. Mulino believes he is being framed by the other cops, but Mitchell is sceptical until his own boss mysteriously disappears.
I felt the plot of the book was excellent. The Big Fear has an intriguing story with a bit of mystery and action thrown in. Most of the books I read in the genre feature the police as the ‘good guys’ solving the crimes, so it was refreshing to see those usual roles flipped. It read like a movie or a television show to me, which I always like. The book become pretty action-packed towards the end which was a pleasant surprise, although I felt it ended rather abruptly. I think the end could have been stretched out a bit longer because it ended up being a big build up for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment.
For the most part I enjoyed Case’s writing style. He is quite good at setting the scene, but I feel that at times it got too wordy. While reading it, I felt that Case got side-tracked from telling the story by describing things that I didn’t think were too important and that means that I got side-tracked while trying to follow the story. I feel that slightly less of a focus on describing things would have helped the story flow a little better.
The characters of Mitchell and Mulino were pretty interesting although they’re not overly fleshed out in the book. I would have liked to actually see them work together like the blurb implies because it was difficult to get a real feel for the characters when they were isolated for most of the story. I don’t know if Case plans to bring them back, but I would be interested in seeing how they develop if he does.
Overall, I feel that The Big Fear is very good for a first novel. While there’s not a lot in terms of character development, the story itself is really interesting and gripping. I am interested in seeing where Case takes the series next when A Falling Knife comes out next year.
Worth a read? If you like mystery novels that feel like they could be television shows, with several twists, a lot of action and thrilling conspiracies, then I would definitely recommend The Big Fear.