Beat

Beat - Stephen Jay Schwartz Stephen Schwartz's pulp novel Beat mixes the surprising nature of its explicit sexual and violent content with an ending that somehow feels too choreographed and too cinematically-minded for the rest of the book. Having creating Hayden Glass, a gritty, believable police detective with a predilection for drugs and a clinical diagnosis of sexual addiction, Schwartz sinks him headfirst into San Francisco's world of sex trafficking -- a business in which the detective has sometimes been a willing participant. All of this is excellent, gritty noir, and feels like an alternate, pulpier angle on Andrew Vachss's highly stylized Burke, series. But it's the conclusion that breaks the spell, creating an ending that while satisfying in parts could be replaced with the denouement of any half-baked Hollywood action film. As the Glass series goes forward, here's hoping Schwartz finds a better model to mimic for his original and engrossing cast of characters.