REVIEW: Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters (Offbeat Crimes Book 1) by Angel Martinez
Book 1 in the Offbeat Crimes series
Kyle Monroe, his irritating new partner and their fellow freaks at the 77th Precinct must learn to work together to stop a vicious murderer that might not even be human.
Kyle Monroe’s encounter with a strange, gelatinous creature in an alley leaves him scarred and forever changed, revealing odd abilities he wishes he didn’t have and earning him reassignment to a precinct where all the cops have defective paranormal abilities.
Just as he’s starting to adjust to his fellow misfit squad mates, Kyle’s new partner arrives. Tall, physically perfect, reserved and claiming he has no broken psychic talents, Vikash Soren irritates Kyle in every way. But as much as he’d like to hate Vikash, Kyle finds himself oddly drawn to him, their non-abilities meshing in unexpected ways. If they can learn to work together, they might be able to stop the mysterious killer who has been leaving mutilated bodies along the banks of the Schuylkill.
Dear Ms. Martinez,
Your Offbeat Crimes series came to my attention when Jane featured book four “Feral Dust Bunnies” in a New Releases post. Sometimes I have dust bunnies that I swear are eyeing me from under my couch so of course I had to find out more about this book which lead me to the whole series and being anal about starting from the beginning, voila … I bought this one. The premise is amusing, the snark is actually well done but trying to cram world building, a new relationship and a monster into one novella length story calls for a lot of stuffing.
The officers of the 77th precinct are an odd lot. No, really. They’re the oddballs but it’s more due to their paranormal abilities. They all have some “thing” that they do or are but often these “powers” are strange and bizarre – more annoying that useful. “They suck at them” says Kyle. One can move things – but only fruit. Another is a fire-starter – but only under ideal weather conditions. One is a lizard while another is a vampire and a third claims to be a wolf cursed to be in a human body. They joke and poke at each other and not always in good fun.
The FNG – a tall drink of handsome – is paired with short, red headed Kyle whose power is to short-term take on the power of whoever is near him. Vikash is as quiet as Kyle is talkative and refuses to say what it is that landed him with the misfits. Their first assignment is to check out the latest body found by the Schuylkill River. The marks on the corpse and the large, clawed footprint found at the scene point to another monster being loose in Philly. Kyle’s already had a run-in with another one – a lime green gelatinous blob – which left him scarred. Now he and Vikesh have to try and figure out who – or what – is out there.
As I said, there’s a lot of groundwork to be laid here. All of the other officers get mentioned but with the number of them and the differences between them, I pretty much gave up trying to keep all of them straight in my head especially since some are barely there in the story. I figure that they’ll get their own chance in the spotlight in another story before long. Meanwhile as this is told from Kyle’s POV, we do learn a bit about what makes him tick. Vikesh is more the mystery man both because we’re never in his head and because he takes his time thinking before he says or does anything. It takes Kyle a while to get comfortable with this.
Their relationship starts tentatively for several reasons. Kyle isn’t sure what Vikesh’s preferences are – no gaydar is pinging but there are also no straight signals either. Once the question is answered, Vikesh says enough about his past romances for Kyle to know that his partner has been subjected to subtle prejudice from both sides. Since they’re partners, they have to step carefully at work. There are rules against fraternization but those are seldom enforced. As long as no one has all-out PDAs, the Lt will ignore things. So some sexy times are here but things are still being gingerly taken day by day.
I was disappointed in the Schuylkill monster part of the story. True Kyle and Vikesh do put in some investigative time but the take-down seemed all too easy. The “monster” who interested me most was Mr. Jacket – and I’ll leave out describing him as it’s so much fun to read about his mannerisms.
As the next book in the series is still focused on Kyle and Vikesh, I’m planning on getting to it at some point. Since there are now five books out with a sixth due soon, I hope that more future time will be spent with the relationships since the basic outlines of the Offbeat world have been established. B