Gritty Mystery on the Streets of LAReview by: Morgan Hobbes
The Seven O'Clock Man, written by Justin DiPego, is a raw, gritty, hard-boiled mystery set on LA's streets. A killer known only as the Seven O'Clock Man is beating to death the homeless living on Skid Row.
The Seven O'Clock Man, the bogeyman of the homeless. A figure invented to explain the occasional murders that nobody outside of the tramps themselves really cared about... but now suddenly real as the mysterious murderer violently kills without repercussion.
DiPego paints a vivid picture of life on the streets, in all its grim, horrible glory. The format of the story is interesting. It's recounted to us through one of the side-characters, the "Mayor" of a patch of Skid Row. The style I can only really describe as both genuine but also irritating.
The style is an old-timey tramp, making sure to speak extra eloquently to sound smarter, like a talking thesaurus. Pick a verb, any verb you like. It's likely been used as a dialogue tag as if the author is allergic to the word "said".
The narration itself by Daniel Martinez is smooth, and his characterisations on point, but the incessant need for "said" alternatives becomes annoying. It's the old show-vs-tell debate, where a lot of this novel was told to us, rather than showing it. A couple of the dialogue tags I jotted down are:
... he calculated.
... he incidentally alibied.
... I said didactically.
All that aside, the story itself is engaging. It's filled with plenty to keep you guessing, red herrings to throw you off, and paced well to keep it all moving towards an ending I did not see coming in the slightest.
If you can look past the verb tsunami, you'll find the gritty streets of LA make for a solid murder mystery.
I was given this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. I have not let this gift affect nor influence my opinions of this audiobook and have left an honest review.