FADE ROUTE by David Chill

fade-routeAnother P.I. detective mystery.   I love these things.  Probably because there is a kind of rhythm and certainty to them.  You now where they are going, you know how they are going to end.  Dependability in an uncertain and cruel world.   I could probably write a blog post on the Seven Basic Mystery Plots.

Actually, I think there is only one basic mystery plot:  Somebody gets murdered, preferably someone we don’t care much about.  Or if we like him/her, investigation shows he/she wasn’t such an angel after all.  Somebody is the perp.  Somebody is the detective investigating the murder.  It doesn’t matter if the investigator is an official law enforcement officer, a P.I. or neighbor, girlfriend, coworker.  There is a variety of characters floating around, some suspicious, some not, some helpful, some not.  And that’s it.  The investigation turns up the motive that is personal or corporate, emotional or based on finances.  The investigator invariably gets into some dangerous and painful situation near the end where the perp almost kills them, but is saved by someone, or extracts themselves, solves the case, and lives happily ever after.   There.  That’s it.

Fade Route does not disappoint.  It follows the comforting formula, has some nice twists, and characters that keep us interested.  Burnside is an ex football star who is now a Private Eye.  OK, Private Detective.  Private Investigator.  Whatever.  His good friend, wealthy and happily married, has decided to get into city politics in Bayside, CA, running against a long-time incumbent.  He feels he wants to give something back to the community, and opens a place that offers to help homeless people clean up, and get a job, you know, learn the ropes about interviews, that kind of thing.  Burnside works there as a volunteer.

After one meeting, the friend goes upstairs to his office, and later is found shot to death.  Who dunnit?  The chick who has the hots for him?  The other chick who feels the same?  Someone from the political opposition trying to get him out of the running?  And if so, why?

Well, of course, there is big money involved, with the issue of development and land sales,  there is the thwarted love angle, as it turns out our Dearly Departed was a serial adulterer.  Who knew!

Burnside is on the case, gets punched around and beaten up and all according to formula, and finally solves the case.

Like I said.  Comforting conformity to the True Mystery Structure.  Good book.  I liked it.  This one is actually the second in what is now I believe is a series of three.

Oh, yeah, the title.  It has to do with football.  I didn’t quite understand it when Burnside explains it to us and how it applies to this case, so I looked it up.

The pass is used frequently in the West Coast offensive scheme, where quick, accurate throwing is key. The pass may also be used closer to the goal line in what is called a “fade“. The quarterback will lob the ball over a beaten defender to a wide receiver at the back corner of the end zone.

I still don’t understand it nor how it applies to the events in the book.  But that’s football for ya.





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