24 March 2011
Book Banter -- Eyes of the Innocent
Author: Brad Parks
Length: 290 pages
Plot Basics: Newark reporter Carter Ross returns in this sequel to Parks' award-winning "Faces of the Gone." Ross and newsroom intern Sweet Thang (really named Lauren) are assigned the obligatory "space heater" story after a fire in a poor apartment leads to the death of two young boys. Instead, Ross and Sweet Thang find the boys' mother and start to unravel the truth about the fatal fire. But working so close to the young, hot intern creates other problems for Ross, especially as he tries to navigate his bizarre relationship with his editor, Tina. When a city council member also goes missing, Ross and Sweet Thang bend journalism ethics to help the police fit all the pieces together -- and land a great story.
Banter Points: It's clear why Parks is an award winner. Instead a sequel slump, Eyes of the Innocent brings back his fantastic characters with as much -- if not more -- verve than they had in the first book. Ross isn't so melancholy about the future of newspapers in this one and the introduction of Sweet Thang and her Twitter-based obsession with Carter is the funniest twist I've read in a mystery book in a long time.
Bummer Points: I have to wait another year for another Carter Ross book.
Word Nerd Recommendation: Anybody who likes their mystery novels spiced with a heavy dose of comedy needs to check out Parks' books. He writes a heck of a story.