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Posted September 13, 2012
I've known about Stephen Jay Schwartz's gritty detective novels
I've known about Stephen Jay Schwartz's gritty detective novels for awhile now. I remember when his debut novel Boulevard was released, but somehow I've missed out until now.
I picked up "Beat" unexpectedly at the store about a month ago. I saw the book and just happened to flip to one of the gritty scenes in the book and I knew I wanted to read it.
Schwartz's main character LAPD robbery homicide detective Hayden Glass is one for the ages. He's likeable, but no where near flawless. Actually he's a mess, he has a sex addiction.
The characters are great, the writing is great in this novel. There were a few plot twists that I really never imagined in the book, but overall I kept wanting more. Schwartz sucks you in at the beginning with the character Cora and much like Glass, you want more.
Schwartz does a good job of making the reader want more, I found myself reading just one more chapter, then one more to find the next big scene.
One reviewer mentions in their review that Sean Penn would play a great Hayden Glass, I agree completely. This book could definitely be made into a movie, although it would lose alot of its magic trying to just get an "R" rating.
This book isn't for the squeamish, the first few chapters will surely turn away readers who aren't ready for this type of ride.
I do plan to read "Boulevard" now that I'm a Hayden Glass fan and I hope Schwartz will continue to keep writing more.
Highly recommended for noir (with a dark sexual twist) fans!
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Posted October 7, 2010
Graphic and Gritty -- Good Read
Let me first say this -- you have to have thick skin to deal with this book. It's laden with sexually graphic detail and language since the primary character is a homicide detective with an addiction to sex. Generally speaking, he's not opposed to internet porn, prostitutes, and the like. (Is this a trend for what I've been reading this week...?) Hayden Glass is an LAPD homicide detective and in the prior book, he's encountered some fairly gruesome situations in which he's looked at as a hero by the public, but his file is completely sealed. Only he and a few others know what he really did. He's got some time off right now (forced medical leave), and he's making use of it by finding someone he really likes...who he happens to have met through an internet porn site, and then met in real life after obsessively traveling to San Francisco. He is a "recovering" sex addict, after all. Cora is the girl he's met online, and he likes her a lot. He thinks there's more between them, and maybe so. Not only does he like her, but she happens to be a primary link to a sex slave trade that's run by the Russian mafia. But right now, she's gone missing after being brutally taken from Hayden right in front of him, and he wasn't able to do anything about it. If you can get past the graphic subject matter and those first few pages particularly (literally, page two would make Tiger Woods blush), then you're in for a well written mystery/suspense/thriller. Although it's gritty and disturbing, Stephen Jay Schwartz finesses the images to keep you thoroughly unsettled but racing to find out who's behind the corruption supporting the sex slave trade, and more importantly, where Cora is. It's also a fascinating portrayal of a character who has a debilitating and ruling addiction that he's at the early stages of overcoming. Fans of Stephen Jay Schwartz and his character, Hayden Glass, won't be disappointed. This is the second book for the Hayden Glass character, but you can read this as a stand alone. There's enough references and background provided to not make you confused and wonder what happened in the first book, but only enough to make you want to go pick it up and read it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 1, 2010
A cop tries to beat his own demons
I wonder what would happen if you crossed a great crime-writer like Michael Connelly with a writer of gritty suspense movies set in the sexual underworld-something with crime and rather graphic and dark sexuality, I expect; something like The Beat. I'd already read author Stephen Jay Schwartz's short story Crossing the Line about a young LA cop assigned to vice, who learns the dark and practical way why one particular prostitute can never be arrested. When I read of Detective Hayden Glass's sex addiction on the back cover of The Beat, I knew what to expect. But the front cover quote from Michael Connelly is just as telling, describing The Beat as a great original take on detective fiction. It has a dark and gritty mystery, a powerfully convincing protagonist, a steamy underbelly running through San Francisco and internet porn, and a hard-fought-for hope. I hope it might make a good movie one day, but the novel's written with such convincing description, I feel like I've already seen it. Stephen Jay Schwartz is deservedly a Los Angeles Time Bestselling Author.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The abused women caught up in vice-torn San Francisco are only one side to this story. Protagonist Glass is a wounded soul himself, with dark secrets never wholly revealed, and a berserker anger that lies just a short way in his past (and future too perhaps). Rewarded with the Medal of Honor for his valiant capture of a violent criminal, he's also consigned to the psychiatrist's couch for the destruction he wrought, and for his sex addiction. A cop with a beat of his own and demons to beat, Glass has not really fallen; he just falling with style he thinks, till the girl he believes he loves disappears and her captors fail to kill him. Now the search is on. Who owns whom? Whose money buys which influence? And who's on the take?
The story is an exciting roller coaster ride as Glass follows clues, falls behind, finds hope and betrays it again. But the ride leads ever forward with Glass climbing higher after each deeper fall, till a final violent conclusion and surprise decision open the door to peaceful respite. Not a pleasant man, Glass is convincingly real and well worth saving; he has a wounded honesty that really pulls the reader to his side. Not an easy read, The Beat is a powerful evocative novel of dark crime, graphic violence, and surprising depth. I'm really glad I was given the chance to read and review it for the author's Blog Tour.
Posted June 3, 2012
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