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The Random Affair


Not for me 😔

An exciting but poorly written action thriller set in Detroit, which begins a series about a former DIA operative turned private detective.

This is the first book in a series about former DIA agent turned private detective Jordan Noble and his friends/colleagues the Urban Knights, set in Detroit. While this was a fast-paced and exciting action adventure, it was let down by terrible writing.

While working alongside the FBI, Jordan and his best friend E-Man attempt to arrest evil drug-dealer Cody Random, killing his brother in self-defence. Four years later, Jordan has left the Navy in disgrace and set up his own agency. Random has escaped from prison and is intent on wreaking revenge, by killing Jordan and unleashing a potent new street drug called crush, designed to hook users from the first dose.

The author has a great imagination and the story was good, if unoriginal. He sets a scene well, especially the action sequences, and he has created vivid characters - I enjoyed the banter between them. Unfortunately the book needs a lot of editing. It’s full of typos, spelling, grammatical and tense mistakes, and sound-alike words that were completely wrong in context, eg nit-nats when he means knickknacks. It also has the shortest sentences I have ever seen in a book - all the way through.

I read a lot of thrillers but this is the first I can think of where the hero and most of the main characters are African-American. I often wasn’t sure whether the dialogue was an accurate reflection of how people over there speak, or just more mistakes. I don’t think I’ve read anything set in Detroit before either, and I was interested in the way he handled the racial aspects. The bad guys are nearly all white, and racist.

Jordan was too macho for me - he sizes up each woman he meets in terms of her sexual attractiveness, which was pretty creepy. He’s portrayed as a loyal friend and honourable agent, but he’s got a short temper and little control over his violent tendencies. He’s fabulously wealthy, and for someone who pretends not to care about money, is obsessed with designer labels, cars, guns and toys. I far preferred E-Man who was a lot more down to earth.

I struggled with this, and would’ve abandoned it had I not committed to writing a review. All the other reviews are positive, so I recommend checking out a sample and if the writing doesn’t bother you then by all means give it a try.

Reviewed by

I’m English but have lived in NZ for 19 years.
I’ve always been a serious reader, and have been reviewing on GoodReads for years, but in the past few years have developed my reviewing through NetGalley and now Reedsy. I mostly read mysteries and thrillers, although enjoy other genres in between.

About the author

James H. Roby is a Detroit son, born and raised. He served in the US Air Force as a commissioned officer. James has a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University and a master's from Central Michigan University. No matter what, even when he’s not in Detroit, Detroit is in him. view profile

Published on September 17, 2017

90000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Action & Adventure

Reviewed by