REVIEW: The Vinyl Detective: Written in Dead Wax by Andrew Cartmel (The Vinyl Detective #1)

The Vinyl DetectiveTitle: The Vinyl Detective: Written in Dead Wax by Andrew Cartmel
Pages: 474
Published by: Titan Books
Publication date: 10th May 2016
Genre: Thrillers & Mystery
Format: Paperback
Amazon UK – Waterstones


He is a record collector — a connoisseur of vinyl, hunting out rare and elusive LPs. Some end up on his turntable, some are sold at a handsome profit, and all sound a hell of a lot better than any digital recording.

His business card describes him as the “Vinyl Detective” and certain people take this more literally than others. Like the mysterious woman who wants to pay him a large sum of money to find a priceless lost recording — on behalf of a wealthy, shadowy and somewhat sinister client.

Given that he’s just about to run out of cat food, this gets our hero’s full attention. So begins a dangerous odyssey in search of the rarest jazz record of them all…

My review:

A huge thank you to Titan Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

This book has such a unique and intriguing story, it’s different to other crime thrillers I’ve read and I’m impressed the author thought up such an interesting story. I’ll be honest, I don’t have a clue about records and collecting them. I have no idea which ones are rare and if rare ones still exist. Sure, I see them in shops like HMV but I’ve never bought one personally myself. But the great thing about this book is that you don’t need to know about record collecting. Everything is explained to you and you are constantly kept in the loop. It is easy to see why the main character loves records and it was nice being able to share his passion! I love that he also had friends who shared his passion and he could discuss records with them. One of my favourite parts was that he has his own blog dedicated to records! He sells them online but then also writes articles on them which is awesome! I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where the main character runs their own blog so I really liked that! Also, I loved reading about his two cats, they are just adorable.

Whilst we know the main character is passionate about records, he is also surrounded by mystery himself. For one, we don’t know his name. He never mentions his name even when meeting new people. He is just referred to as the “Vinyl Detective.” I find that quite mysterious because wouldn’t people be curious to know his name? Or does he write his name on his blog? So many questions. I need answers! To be honest though, I didn’t even realise I didn’t know his name until about halfway through the book. I just got used to calling him the Vinyl Detective! Also, I have no idea what he looks like! I don’t remember him describing himself at the beginning of the book or even throughout the book. So I have no clear picture of him in my head and it sucks. I like to form a clear picture of the characters in my mind. He describes the other characters really well so I have an idea of what they look like but then he is a smudge compared to them.

I really liked the other characters, especially Nevada. I think that’s a really interesting name and she was a really interesting character. What annoyed me though was the Vinyl Detective knew nothing about her except that she had been sent to recruit his help in finding a rare record. He didn’t know who she worked for and whenever he found out strange stuff about her, he did nothing! For example, she carries her bag everywhere with her and when he eventually manages to look inside it, he finds something and I expected him to bring it up with her. Instead he says nothing?? Why?? I’d be straight in her face asking her who the hell she works for. It annoyed me that he never mentioned it. And then he eventually finds out where the company she works for is located and again he says nothing to her about it. Why all this snooping and no confronting? It’s very strange.

I thought this book was thrilling in some places and the plot was interesting but at times it became quite tedious. They basically just spend the majority of the plot going in and out of different charity shops searching for this rare record. The plot didn’t have a lot of mystery in it and it was up and down a lot of the time. I wasn’t bored though because the characters definitely made up for the lack of plot. About halfway through it became really intense and there was quite a lot of action. It was really exciting and I could finally see why searching for this record was dangerous. There were villains in the book determined to stop him from finding the record and they weren’t shy of murdering people to get their way.  They were violent and cunning but props to the Vinyl Detective because he took it all in his stride and was determined to beat them to the record. He played dirty and I liked it. He’s a very clever and likeable character. There was an interesting plot twist towards the end and it opened up another adventure for the detective so that was fun. We met new characters and I liked them all. There wasn’t one character I hated it which is amazing. There was another surprising twist at the end that I wasn’t expecting. I thought it was very creative and the ending left me gobsmacked. I turned the last page with my mouth hanging open. What was that ending??? Plot twist!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I am very glad I read it! It was really interesting and I am excited to continue reading more adventures with the Vinyl Detective. I am currently reading the second book and am enjoying it immensely! If you like crime thrillers, I’d recommend giving this ago! It’s definitely got potential and so far the second book is living up to that potential.

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