A Lonesome Blood-red Sun
October 5, 2023
Book Review

A Lonesome Blood-red Sun

reviewed by Lou Jacobs


Ride along in the shoes of Homicide Detective Dave Beckett as he daily contends with violence and mayhem, sensing how it molds his life and future. Dave Putnam crafts a gritty street poem that evolves from a police procedural into an action-packed crime thriller, blending fiction with authentic, true-life incidents, creating an intense, genuine feel.

Dave Beckett is a maverick, undaunted by stretching the boundaries of rules in his pursuit to apprehend criminals. At times, his behavior is misconstrued as insubordination. The tale is divided into two distinct parts; the first establishes his thoughts, methods, views on life, and his life post-divorce from his beloved wife, Beth, chronicling his lingering longing for his daughter. Readers delve into his inner monologue and his reconnection with his long-estranged father. Dave’s inner anguish is profound when his attempts to save his partner, Ben Siderites—a man emotionally crippled after witnessing a murder-suicide—prove futile.

However, this does not deter him from aiding a young street cop, “Jimmie” (Judith) Poe, distressed that Nico Sumter would escape justice for his heinous crimes. The second part, set four years later, sees Dave sanctioned for his controversial methods, now investigating bones found in the desert in San Bernardino County, the largest county in the U.S.

Dave’s life spirals when a discovered bone and a tattoo unveil the potential murder of a friend and officer. Dave struggles with a recurring nightmare from a past unresolved case, involving Jessica DeFrank, heightening the narrative’s tension.

As Putnam muses: “Cops are merely immunologists or surgeons, who excise malignant growths from society, or quarantine the most infectious in prison.” David Putnam proves to be a masterful storyteller, intertwining multiple plot lines into a startling narrative with unexpected twists, enriched with multidimensional characters. The protagonist, Dave Beckett, lingers in memory long after the last page is turned.

This tale, vivid with David Putnam’s long, storied career in law enforcement, escalates into an immersive mystery thriller, depicting an authentic portrayal of street life. Thanks to NetGalley, Level Best Books, and David Putnam for providing me with an Uncorrected Proof in exchange for an honest review.

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