Harmless

Title: Harmless

Author: Ernie Lindsey

Read by: DJ Holte

Category: Mystery

Audio published: Nov 13, 2013

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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There’s someone for everyone…even Steve.
Steve Pendragon is an eccentric (and sometimes delusional) used car salesman in love with Kerry, the quiet, secretive girl next door–only she doesn’t know it. When the would-be love of his life turns up dead, all signs point to Steve.
When the detectives hit a dead-end in their investigation and he becomes the prime suspect, Steve is left with only a reluctant police officer and a crooked private investigator to help him prove his innocence. Could a kindhearted homeless woman and a cryptic note in Kerry’s diary provide the key to the mystery

I have to thank the audiobook’s reader, DJ Holte for asking if I was interested in reviewing Harmless, otherwise it’s probably not a book that would have come across my radar, but it was a really good, unique read. The story’s told in the first person by Steve Pendragon and listening to it on audio rather than reading it in print seems perfect. Steve is a rambler, someone who conversation goes off on tangents and the audio came across that way, like Steve was telling us the story, got side-tracked, got back to the plot. It worked well and DJ Holte really made Steve come alive, foibles and all. and since it’s told, mostly, in the first person, he doesn’t have to “be” the other characters, he has to “be” Steve being the other characters, which he did well.

Steve (with a v) is definitely the center point of the novel. While it’s a mystery, it’s really more about the character than the plot. He’s an odd guy: obsessive-compulsive, a bit delusional, a stalker, an ardent admirer of the postal service. He functions in life, holding a job, but doesn’t have any close friends, unless you count the mailman or the lady at the Laundromat, or officer Thomas who he tried to sell a car to once upon a time. He’s a little nutty – talk about an unreliable narrator.  He starts unlikable but eventually you start rooting for him and hoping it won’t turn out that he did actually kill Kerry.

The story takes a couple of odd turns and a couple of twists I didn’t see coming, given that all I had was Steve’s version of the world. He doesn’t exactly have a clear grasp of what’s going on, although there is definitely maybe a cop determined to prove Steve is the killer, even when Kerry’s diary points in another direction.

It’s an unusual story, worth picking up. It’s funny, too, in a dark kind of way.  It had me laughing out loud a couple of times, which probably made me seem kind of odd, walking around laughing to myself with the ear buds hidden by my hair.