Full Release - Understanding the genreIt’s important when reviewing a book that you assess it in terms of the genre it slots into. If you missed it, check out this blog by the author himself. http://marshallthornton.wordpress.com/thoughts-and-ideas/mm-romance-and-gay-fiction-duke-it-out/This story is mystery/suspense. So what elements do we look for in this genre?A crime, someone to solve the crime, logical steps along the way to reveal the villain and tension while doing it.Mystery/suspens has been written for centuries. Judging by the sheer volume of books available in stores it’s one of the widest read and biggest selling. So it’s rare to find anything new.So how can a writer stand out from the crowd. By setting the story in an unusual setting, updating the methods of solving it to a specific time and expertise, having an unusual crime solver and giving that person a distinctive voice.In this case, the investigating hero is gay, but his sexuality is only relevant in the way it has affected his personality, his relationships with other people and the background the story takes place in. Along the way there is sex needed to drive the plot along, and even a possible long term hook up, but more importantly it gives the author the chance to make some pithy observations on the gay community and the different people who populate it. But all this is still background, the story is not about “being gay”.Marshall’s sleuth is a fairly innocuous accountant, the last person anyone would peg for an action hero. One reviewer accused him of being too stupid to live. Well, that’s exactly what he’s meant to be. He’s out of his element, out of his depth and needing sleep.The question is then, does Marshall deliver on the rest? All the “guns on the wall” fired. I found the story very readable. His descriptions were good, his writing style smooth. My main bitch is the number of silly typos that pulled me out of the story time and time again, usually missed prepositions or wrong words. Most people may not even notice them, but I’ve done enough editing to make something like that shine out at me. Especially as they were basic things that should have been pulled up. Apart from these, I felt the character’s voice suited the plot and depiction. The background setting was skilfully drawn. I found the crime and its solution believable enough given the basic premises. Realistic? Probably not, but we’re talking fiction here. Someone also suggested it was a comedy and the juxtaposition of murder and comedy was wrong. This is definitely not the case. Sarcasm about life does not equal comedy. For someone who was forever being put down because of their profession (accountancy = boring), being vanilla, having a failed relationship, being cleaned out of all his money by an ex-partner, with a job under threat even before the crime is committed of course he’s going to be wanting to fight back, however he can. In this case, with words and throw away lines about the city he lives in and the people around him.I found the bitterness and bitchiness of Matt very similar to a couple of gay guys I know.Did I feel the story was good as it could be? No. Apart from the typos, one of the problems came from the structure of the book and the character himself. Because he was so alienated, alone and helpless, he has no-one to bounce dialogue off, no side-kick, so a lot of the plot development – the clue solving, has to take place in his head. If, as a reader, you don’t feel any sympathy for the guy, or relate to his “voice” then this can all become dry.It didn’t make me stop reading or dislike the book, but it does make it harder to emotionally become involved with the book or the character. I probably should read some Raymond Chandler or other authors who have written the lone warrior style hero and see how they get around this problem. Maybe they don’t, and then it comes down to a preference of styles.If you like this type of story where the single, much put upon underdog has to bumble around trying to do something he’s not trained to do, then you will enjoy reading “Full Release”.I found Matt’s efforts to solve the case rewarding enough, and because I can’t see any other way the story could have been better given that scenario, that set-up and setting, I’m giving it 4 stars rounded down to 3.5 because of the typos.