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Dangerous Illusions by Joseph J. Gabriele

Dangerous Illusions

by Joseph J. Gabriele

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I can honestly say that I don’t like the noir genre and although this book is listed as a mystery & thriller it has noir elements – incompetent and corrupt cops, femme fetales, high society, a dark underbelly just below the surface, and the ubiquitous hero who in this case is also a victim and the narrator who reveals the plot oh so gradually.

For a first time novelist this author had produced a fairly gripping book. The characters are well formed and unique. The writing is also good but on the whole the novel is let down by the fact that the murder is not investigated to its fullest being mentioned briefly and then returned to at the end of the novel in a rather rushed ending leaving too many unanswered questions and loose ends.

Plus the author does tend to stop the action for pages long descriptions of rooms and musical instruments, reminiscent of HG Wells. Yes I can understand scene setting but the depth to which this author went describing a drum shop was excruciating and then the music room – we all get that you know your drums, the protagonist is writing a book about it, that should be enough said. We don’t need to know the ins and outs of which symbol was how old or which drum had which cover and in what colour! (The author clearly knows about drums (and music) but does he have to prove it to the reader?) These lengthy descriptions add nothing to the plot, take up the readers’ time and detract from any suspense that has already been established.

That said I continued with this novel as I am a compulsive book finisher but I did start skimming some of these descriptions. There were many twists and turns in this novel but something felt off – possibly the fact that I didn’t like the noir genre.

This debut book had loads of potential but for this reader fell short of the expectation having read the back cover blurb. This reader felt that the time spent reading this book was wasted and never able to be recouped.

Full Disclosure: ARC received from Netgalley for an honest review. ( )
  anuttyquilter | Mar 21, 2015 |
This novel is about a murder that happens right in the middle of an upper-class Manhattan dinner party.

Eliot is the author of a couple of well-regarded books on economics. He lives in a fancy apartment building, with a doorman, and actual elevator operators. During the dinner party, Eugene, a member of the Mayor's administration and a former diplomat, is found dead in Eliot's office. An extremely valuable set of drums is missing (Eliot is working on writing a history of drums). Detective Garielik of the NYPD is a no-nonsense type who is convinced that everyone is guilty (not all at the same time). He asks very pointed questions of everyone involved, including the staff of the apartment building.

Charles is related to Eugene. His wife, Kate, is a lawyer and an overbearing you-know-what who loudly proclaims her anger at not being named executrix of Eugene's will, and at learning that she will get little or nothing of Eugene's considerable assets. Blair is a beautiful woman with several years of government service. She is in New York working for a jerk of a boss, and has developed a major drinking problem. There are a couple of other loveless marriages going on. A couple of times, Detective Garielik thinks that he has found the drums (they are much too valuable to go through the local pawn shop), but Eliot takes one look at them and says No.

As a murder mystery, this book does not work. The was no feeling of needing to keep reading to find out whodunit. It works better, but not much better, as a book about members of Manhattan's upper class. The reader will certainly learn more than they ever wanted to know about drums. Personally, the last quarter of the book, aside from the revelation of the killer (and thief) is the best part of the book. Ultimately, this book is not worth the time. ( )
  plappen | May 1, 2014 |
Seductive and compelling....
“Dangerous Illusions,” the first novel by Joseph J. Gabriele, has a sensuous seductive pull that draws you into the story, slowly narrowing the fascinating cast of characters and suspects until you find you’re furiously reading the last few pages to find out who and why. I found myself mesmerized by these people and their lives and I sincerely hope the author see fit to create more stories around some or all of these unique individuals.

As a particular fan of noir, I found this novel to embody more of the atmosphere and language of that genre than novels that are actually billed as such. New York City became its own character and I found myself wrapped in her embrace as I walked the streets along with the protagonist. From the glitz and glamour of the upper echelon to the grimy underbelly lurking just beneath the surface, this story will take you on a ride you won’t want to miss. ( )
  DTChantel | Dec 3, 2013 |
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