Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jerjen
It is hard to believe that 13 Hollywood Apes is the first novel by Gil Reavill. This is a very impressive book for a debut. This book has a little bit of everything: suspense, mystery, drama, sadness and evil. All of these things are blended together expertly to create a very good and entertaining book.
Layla Remington, a detective for Malibu, is called to the Odalon Animal Sanctuary, where 13 retired Hollywood apes have been executed. There are not many clues left behind because there was a raging forest fire that tore through the area. Between the fire and all of the firefighters that trampled through the crime scene, there is not much left to find. There is one ape that survived, Angle, who is sent to a veterinarian clinic. He is soon whisked away from the clinic by someone who claims to know Angle really well and only has his best interest in mind. Layla must follow whatever trail there is to keep track of Angle because he is the only survivor from the massacre. But what can the survivor tell Layla because, after all, he is an ape, not a human. He will not be any help in identifying the killer, or will he? Angle knows sign language and he may be able to give some clues to help find the killer after all. Then a series of deaths begin involving the former workers of the animal sanctuary. It looks like the killings are a result of a violent attack, perhaps by a wild animal. Will Angle become both the victim and the accused?
The characters are well developed, well rounded and three dimensional. Layla presents herself as a tough as nails female detective. But she has a softer side, which is evident whenever she spends time with her dad. It is also displayed when she continues to dig for the truth and find the person responsible for the executed apes. She wants to see justice served even if the victims are animals. She is someone I would like to get to know better and look forward to learning more about her in future books. Although Angle is not human he is a very important character in the book and he is very endearing and you want to see good things happen to him. It is very easy to care about him.
The beginning of the book is very sad, in my opinion. I thought to myself, I am not sure if I can read this book if it is so sad throughout the entire book. However it does not take very long for the suspense to begin to build and continue to build until the very end. There are twists and turns along the way to add to the intense drama. The sadness became a starting point for everything the follows.
The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. The author is very descriptive in his writing and at times I think the descriptions are a little much. Especially in the first few chapters but then I did not notice it so much through the rest of the book. This is only my opinion and some readers may enjoy lengthy descriptions. Like they say, sometimes less is more and I tend to agree with that statement.
I did learn some things about apes that I did not know. I learned that there are 4 species of apes: gorillas, orangutans, bonobos and chimpanzees. I had never even heard of the bonobos. There are also issues concerning animal rights that are brought to light in this book. When a book either teaches me something new or gives me something to think about I enjoy that and the book goes up in my opinion.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted mystery suspense. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, which I believe is being released towards the end of next year.