Gone At Zero Hundred 00:00 by C.R. Hiatt
Release Date: April 31, 2012
Reading level: Young Adult
Sydney McSwain is nothing like her mother except for the fact they both have a nose for sniffing out crime as private investigators. Though for Syd, the biggest mystery is finding out who her father really is. That is, until Syd's mother is gunned down on live television & Syd is propelled into one of the biggest cases she's ever worked.
In between shooting promos for her new PI business with best friend Cody & surveilling the step-brother of a model who appears to be up to no good, Syd manages to find herself knee deep in danger. She's running from masked men & possibly dirty cops.
As the dead bodies pile up, so does the evidence that something very sinister is happening with the Devil's Door Club, a secret club whose members are filthy rich & hiding some very big secrets.
Now how will she find out who her father is?
The ticker tape on the bottom of the TV read: In an unusual turn of events, Investigator Anna McSwain assists law enforcement personnel in the arrest of Marty Cole, an officer with the Sutter Beach Vice Unit. Cole is another individual alleged to be involved in the pension fund scam that McSwain uncovered earlier this year.
Anna slipped her weapon back in its holster, and started down the path toward her own SUV, when…
POP – POP – POP – POP…
A sniper opened fire, and a round of bullets ripped into her chest. She stumbled and faltered; then fell like a dead weight to the ground.
It was immediate pandemonium at the scene. "Shots fired! Shots fired!" an officer screamed at the top of his lungs. "Officers take cover." Uniformed officers took up defensive positions and scanned the area for the shooter.
I have to say that the plot of this story was very intriguing. It sounded a lot like Veronica Mars which was one of my most favorite shows while it was airing. Veronica was always getting into trouble with her adventure-itis (an apparently genetic issue discussed in this book) & running away from someone who didn't like her poking her nose into their private business. And the story is very much a Veronica Mars-ish type story. I enjoyed the mystery as it unfolded & the suspense of discovering just what exactly was happening in the town of Sutter Beach. I also liked wondering who was really as good a guy as we were supposed to think they were & who was not exactly a villain even though it looked that way.
That said, I struggled a bit with reading this book for two reasons. The first is that there is no character depth. We are given a few tidbits here & there about who Cody & Jaden (Syd's two best guy friends) are but we don't get much of a feel for who they are really. We see them through Syd's eyes & she is the least fleshed out of the characters overall. Syd functions as a first person narrator who merely relays everything that happens around her. There's very little personality in how she conveys information or in how she acts or speaks with other people in the story. The personality quirks that she claims to have are only told to us & not really shown. The most realized character was that of Carter, the grown man & father figure of the book. His deeds & dialogue speak for his personality more loudly than any other character in the story.
The second reason I struggled with this book was the lack of strong copy editing. There were times I had to stop the flow of reading to understand what was being said because a word was misspelled, an incorrect word was used, or words were missing altogether. Instances of punctuation didn't make sense also jarred me out of focus on the story as I had to stop & re-read. Also, a lot of the narration was written the way a young adult (more like 15 than the 18 years old Syd was supposed to be) might talk but it was just so annoyingly grammatically incorrect that I was tempted to write letters to the California education system.
The story itself was really well worth the read because it was interestingly detailed & the mystery intricately unveiled little by little. I was glad I read until the end because the ending was great. And, if you are not a reader with as critical an eye as I seem to have, you will probably not notice any of the negatives that I mentioned & simply enjoy the book. Which I hope is true! The plot twists are fun & the race to Zero Hundred keeps you going to the last page.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*