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It's almost worth skipping this one. If Grafton's character development didn't take place over multiple novels, I would. As it is, you probably should give this a listen if you are already committed to the series. I did and I found that all the typical Grafton weaknesses were on display and new ones were added. Unfortunately, the strong plot development that ordinarily compensates for these weaknesses is lacking this time.
Major weakness include:
Non-existent character development, especially with most characters that do not recur in the series, and including this novel's villain.
Unusually poor plot development. Ordinarily, this is Grafton's strength. It is MIA with this novel.
Exceptionally poorly drawn villain. When the villain is revealed, I wager you will find yourself asking WHO??? followed quickly with WHY??? If so, your questions will go largely unanswered.
An incredibly abrupt ending, with virtually all minor plot lines left dangling.
An uncharacteristically maudlin summary from Millhone in the Epilogue.
Typical Series weaknesses also continue, including:
The absence of the sort of cues that most author's use to remind readers of the identities of different characters, especially when many characters are introduced throughout the novel. Here, at most, you will be reminded of a character's first name. If you don't remember who they are among the dozen plus characters new to the novel, well, at least you have a rewind button.
And perhaps the greatest weakness of the series ~ the narrator. These novels were recorded early in the evolution of audiobooks, which is the only reason I can imagine that this narrator found any work. It seems to me that a narrator should, at least, pronounce words correctly. This one muffs some incredibly common ones ~ very distracting when listening. Characterizations, dramatic pacing, inflection ... all the other narrative skills are also weak or missing altogether.
I am 11 books into this series, and beginning to despair. Unusually, writers improve as they develop a series. That is not happening here. Sigh.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
If you like Sue Grafton, then you will like this one. Nothing out of the ordinary, but that's what I like about the Grafton books is that you pretty much know you are going to have a decent detective story without wondering if you are going to hear something that you don't want to un-hear.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful