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This first novel in The Naked Eye Series is a very good start. I'm glad I decided to listen to audio rather than read the book because Steven Barnett is a wonderful narrator. He juggled a mild-mannered private eye, an often outraged transsexual, a frightened Asian teenager and a stereotypical Dragon Lady. The story--private eye gets sucked into helping two young women flee a mafia ring of child prostitution and hides them for a time at a nudist resort--is par for the course in a state that has interstates lined with billboards claiming life begins at conception alternating with those hawking the adult store off the next exit. Nicholls takes tips from the masters in creating unique, likeable characters. Brandi, the transsexual formerly known as Brandon, is no doubt going to be every reader's favorite. Noggin is a slow burn; generally likeable but seemingly sheltered and out of his depth for a private eye. I do have a few minor quibbles with the novel:
1. The pace was uneven, most often fast but occasionally it would grind to a halt while Brandi or some other character got up on a soap box to pontificate.
2. Some of the characters, like the evil Dragon Lady as I thought of her, were just too stereotypical, too one-dimensional.
3. While the history of nudism and the nudist resort in particular was interesting, it really slowed the novel down. Some of the history could have been saved for future installments.
4. An Aha moment late in the novel, as Noggin and Brandi solved one particular murder, was underwhelming since the murderer seemed to come from left field.
5. Finally, and this is just a personal observation, I really didn't like how Brandon became Brandi. I liked Brandi a lot and felt very comfortable and fascinated with her integration of her feminine self and her masculine experiences. But the reason why Brandi became Brandon was a disappointing discovery.
All that said, I do recommend this first installment in S.K Nicholls's new The Naked Eye series. I expect it's only going to get better and I look forward to more adventures with Noggin and Brandi.
You know where you're going with every twist and turn of the car. Visual descriptions of area are spot on. Story is fast moving, interesting and easy to follow. Good characters you want as friends - the bad ones you want to call OPD or OCSD to report. Hope next edition is ready soon.