The Missing Element

A James Becker Mystery

Fiction - General
288 Pages
Reviewed on 04/06/2012
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (Goodreads, B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Bob MacKenzie for Readers' Favorite

While this tale hinges partly on 21st Century technology, the style and substance is very old fashioned, reading not so much like John Gresham or Tom Clancy as Raymond Chandler or Mickey Spillane with just a dash of Nick and Nora Charles thrown in. A description of the story could sound rather boring. In the quiet town of Red Wing, Minnesota, the cop's wife's best friend has disappeared, leaving behind a note for her husband that their marriage is over. The cop, having little time for this, asks a lawyer friend of his to look into it. That could be the whole story. However, the missing woman is one of the highest qualified computer programmers in the world. In a former life, the lawyer had been top international spy for U.S. military intelligence. The lawyer's wife is a former CIA operative and code-cracker still doing contract decoding for the agency. Soon, people start getting violently threatened or killed. Life in Red Wing has become an adventure!

The characters in this story are thinly drawn, as is often the case in detective fiction, yet they walk just this side of the line between stereotype and stark realism, becoming intriguing individuals almost in spite of themselves. Central to the story, James "call me Beck" Becker and his wife Beth especially stand out and become real to the reader, but others become real the more they are on stage. Like the plot and the pacing, the development of characters in this novel is quite masterful. "The Missing Element" has the pace of "The Big Sleep" or perhaps of any Elmore Leonard novel you could name and has its share of quirky characters and cliffhanger moments to keep your eyes locked on its pages until the very end.

I am very impressed with this novel and with the author's skills as a storyteller. The story is gripping and at times intense. I would recommend "The Missing Element" to anyone as a great, fast-paced read.