Friday, January 20, 2012

Book Review: Gold Train by Lada Ray

Gold Train, by Lada Ray, is a mystery thriller based on real-life events.  Now, I'm the kind of person who loves a good true mystery!  When I found out about D.B. Cooper, I immediately had to go look the guy up, come up with theories as to what happened... Unsolved Mysteries was one of my favorite T.V. shows.  Naturally, this book's plot -- seeking the precious gold stolen in 1918 civil war Russia -- peeked my interest right off the bat.

And the writer did not disappoint. 

Lada started this story back when the gold reserve was stolen, then fast-forwarded to modern day, where our protagonist, Jade Snow, began her adventure to find out what happened to one of history's lost treasures. 

Since the beginning thrusts the reader into a world where murder is simply the catch of the day, and the loot is just about to be snatched from the train, there is excitement right from the get-go.  They say you should start a book, or movie, etc. with action.  But sometimes it comes across as forced, like the writer was trying too hard to make the work fit within this "rule".  This was not like that.  The beginning was indeed filled with action, but it was relevant, essential to setting up the story, not forced or out of place at all.

After I got all worked up by the start of it, the story lulled into a nice set up of characters and settings.  But it didn't stay there for long.  The writer did an excellent job of moving the story along at a pace that wasn't too fast or too slow.  You're not waiting desperately for SOMETHING to happen, and you aren't begging for a little downtime to build suspense either.  It's like she hit the "Goldilocks Zone" for writing a mystery/thriller -- just right.

Most of the story is in first person POV, from Jade's perspective.  I usually have a huge problem with a character describing themselves, but Lada managed to pull it off.  It was fitting, the character is a journalist, and it didn't come over as overly arrogant or self-deprecating (too many characters who describe themselves in any way fit one of these two personality quirks).

I loved the fact that, like Dean Koontz, Lada chose to write in many short chapters, rather than fewer looooong chapters.  I appreciate shorter chapters in this kind of work, it allows me to finish a chapter or two in one sitting, then take a break from the mayhem... so I can attend to the regular mayhem of my funny little home.  ;)

If you're the kind of person who loves a good mystery, especially one inspired by true events, I would definitely recommend this ebook.  It's available on Amazon and Smashwords, probably other places as well.  It's intriguing, low-priced, was able to hold the interest of an impatient pleasure-reader (*cough*me*cough*), and a great, non-cozy mystery.

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