Beat by Stephen Jay Schwartz

Title: Beat
Author: Stephen Jay Schwartz
Set in: San Francisco (United States)
Genre: Thriller
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Forge Books; First Edition edition (September 28, 2010)
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

My thoughts:
Beat has the makings of a typical detective novel in many ways. It has the usual ingredients, the detective of course, a complicated case and a chase with some action thrown in. What is probably different from most detective novels is the protagonist Hayden Glass.

Hayden Glass is a LAPD detective who is currently on a leave or a forced medical leave and is undergoing therapy for sex addiction. One day, after he has been clean for around 2 months he enters a video chat room after surfing a sex site for days. He enters the chat and sees a prostitute called Cora whom he instantly becomes obsessed with. After a few months of relentlessly “meeting” her online, she disappears. He follows her to San Francisco where she told him she lived and tracks her down in a hotel room.

2 heavy-set Russian guys enter the room, beat him up, rape Cora and take her with them. What follows is Hayden’s chase to find Cora. In the process he gets involved with the San Francisco Police department, the FBI and the Russian mafia with their underground sex trade.

I found the premise different and interesting with the writing flowing smoothly as well. There was a little too much Detective Jargon which I found a little difficult to follow as first but got used to later. Besides it just shows how much research and preparation the author has done. The sense of place is also very strong in Beat. I could picture the alleys and the night life of San Fransisco within the pages.

I found Hayden Glass most interesting. He revealed various shades as the novel progressed, becoming a sex addict to a detective, to a man who would risk anything for a girl, to an almost nice person at the end. He was not a black and white caricature detectives are usually portrayed as.

I wish I had read the first book Boulevard though. Beat could be called a stand alone novel but reading the first one would have given me a little more glimpse into Hayden’s life and character since most of the issues he carried with him came from the first book. Beat is not very heavy on action. It’s more of Hayden chasing the girl Cora and then uncovering various things on the way. It was a bit slow for my taste but the end more or less made up for it.

Note: A lot of violence.

Read Veens Review here

12 thoughts on “Beat by Stephen Jay Schwartz

Add yours

  1. I am reading this right now. I actually was put off by the 1st few pages and his sex addiction. I wondered just like Bermudaonion, why did the author had to give the guy such an addiction, but then I have come to realize that this is reality, and reality sometimes sucks.


  2. Ehhhh, violence? I think that’s why I am a little leary of the mystery, suspense, thriller type genres–can’t handle the violence. But, a lot of the ones I’ve read take place in San Francisco–must be something about that city! 🙂


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