Book Review – The Death of Anyone by DJ Swykert

The Death of Anyone
DJ Swykert
Melange Books
224 pages

The Death of Anyone, Melange Books, March 2013, is a fictional story of Detroit Homicide Detective, Bonnie Benham, who convinces the District Attorney to allow a Familial DNA search as she investigates the murder of several young girls. The book reveals standard investigative homicide procedures and the frustration of the officers as all leads go nowhere and the body count continues to mount. A task force is put together and Bonnie and her partner, Neil Jensen, who understands Bonnie’s frustration, become inseparable as they track this serial killer. 

This is a tough, gritty novel with authenticity. The central character, Bonnie, is a really strong, capable detective, and when she is after a killer she is like a bulldog with a bone. The reader also gets to see the more feminine side of the character as well, giving her many dimensions to enjoy. 

I was particularly interested in reading this novel set in Detroit, as I grew up there and looked forward to a virtual visit home. I was not disappointed. The setting was firmly established, and I recognized many of the places and streets referenced in the book. 

Most stories answer the title in a sense. What I mean is that we can often finish a book and think, ah, that explains the title. I’m still mystified about why this title was chosen. One Amazon reviewer connected it to the acronym DOA – Death of Anyone – but I have always thought the most popular meaning of that in police work was Dead on Arrival.

For the most part, this was a very enjoyable read. I liked the characters and the police ensemble cast worked well. Unfortunately for me, it is hard to put my editor’s hat aside and just read for fun, so I was tempted to get out my red pencil a few times. That did distract from the read for me, but others might just skim over the minor craft issues.


DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Monarch Review, Lunch Ticket, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Maggie Elizabeth Harrington, Alpha Wolves, The Death of Anyone and The Pool Boy’s Beatitude. A list of his books can be found on his Amazon Author Page, and you can find him at: and on his BLOG
DJ will be my Wednesday’s Guest this week, so do try to come by and meet him. He is quite fascinated with Familial DNA testing, which plays a part in The Death of Anyone. Perhaps he will tell us a bit more about that. 

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