Dave White's reputation in the mystery field to date is based on his short stories (and of course on his author faux pas). Now he's going to be known for his first novel and those that follow it (and for those faux pas).
When One Man Dies is about private-eye Jackson Donne, whom the readers of White's short stories have already met. The novel begins as Donne is about ready to give up the p.i. game and go to college (Rutgers). But when a friend is killed, he's drawn into the investigation.
Nobody is happier about that than Bill Martin, who was Donne's partner when Donne was a cop. Martin sees this as a chance to get a little revenge on Donne for what happened in the old days.
And then there's what seems to be another case entirely. If you've ever read a mystery novel before, you've already figured out that there's going to be a connection, and White doesn't disappoint.
The novel is told in two voices, Donne's first-person narration, which alternates with chapters from Martin's perspective but told in third person. This doesn't always work for me, but it does here.
White has a sure hand on the story, he mixes action with introspection well, and he wraps up a complicated plot with no loose ends dangling. What makes me sad about reading this book (and others by so many of the younger writers these days) is that I know the authors are going to be writing novels for thirty, forty, fifty years, and they're just going to get better. And I'm not going to be around to read all of them. The good news is that I'm getting in on the ground floor of some fine careers. If you want to do the same, check out When One Man Dies.