The Bay – The Tenderloin by Trent Kennedy JohnsonThe Bay - The Tenderloin by Trent Kennedy Johnson
Series: Inspector Cole Hoffer #1
Published by Bastei Entertainment on September 6, 2016
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 102
Format: eARC
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A city boils. Another seethes. A third simmers. And the fourth is about to erupt. Like a stove top, the cities of the Bay Area cook in concert, each steeped in danger, corruption, and a criminal underworld that ties them together. A new homicide sits in the middle of it all-the untimely murder of a lawyer in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco.

Filled with mystery as thick as the Bay's infamous fog, Inspector Cole Hoffer's investigation takes him deep into the most treacherous neighborhoods of San Francisco, Oakland and beyond, as he explores clue after clue, courtesy of a cast of pulpy characters operating in a black market just under our noses. In Hoffer's Bay Area, there's always money to be made, witnesses to be offed, and much bigger crimes to be concealed. After all, the Gold Rush never really ended, it just got deadlier.

For Cole Hoffer, Chuck Hattaran isn't just another name on the homicide unit's Big Board. The murdered lawyer is an affront to Cole's career, his life, and his understanding of himself. That's because Cole knew him. In fact, Cole was having an affair with Hattaran's wife, Mia. And if Cole doesn't figure out who had it in for Hattaran, there's only one person left to point the finger at: Cole himself.

At least “The Tenderloin” is short. I actually expected to like it; the blurb sounded good: decent cop who may end up charged with murder. Turns out the affair was a couple of years ago and Cole’s still obsessing over her. He’s also got a major inferiority complex thanks to his dead father and we have to hear over and over how he imagines his dad giving him a B- or exhorting him to more or less be a man. We’ve got bad guys and worse guys, cops who just don’t care about their jobs and are more worried about today’s dinner order – Italian in case you wondered. There’s a casino in a church, torture, rioting, a dangerous, overwrought lover (other than Cole). Actually, it was almost okay, if a little confusing, until the end, when we get the orgy and the “to be continued.” I know this is just episode one, but absolutely nothing was wrapped up. I think I’m better off reading serials all at once. I just don’t like Cole enough to bother continuing with this one though.

About Trent Kennedy Johnson

Trent Kennedy Johnson is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, California. Born and raised in the Midwest suburbs just outside Chicago, he has long harbored a fascination for mysterious underworlds like those presented in cities near and far. He is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and the founder of a writing group called Incandescent, focused on assisting writers as they generate and hone new concepts born from unconventional sources of inspiration.


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