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(This review applies not only to the current book but also to the other four, very similar, books by Mr Mackay that have been published over a very short span of time.)
As far as the writing is concerned, there are many events that occur among a large cast of characters, but little in the way of cohesion or plot. Things just happen, and then the next thing happens, and so on. There is absolutely no suspense or tension, which I think ought to be crucial in a successful crime novel. The characters are very bland, superficially described, and difficult to differentiate. The story shows little sense of time -- it takes almost to the end of the book to find out how much time passed between the beginning and the end. More egregiously lacking is even a remote sense of place. If you read Ian Rankin, you always know you're in Edinburgh; Adrian McKinty takes you to Belfast, and you know you're in Louisiana when you read James Lee Burke's Robicheau's novels. The current book could have been set anywhere, but unfortunately goes nowhere.
The reading is equally bad. The narrator has no idea of pacing. He lacks the ability to make voices not sound like caricatures. Finally he mangles nearly every sentence by putting emphasis on the wrong word, thus altering and sometimes destroying its meaning. I constantly found myself mentally rereading a sentence to try and capture what I think the author meant to write.
I persevered through this and the other four Mackay novels in hopes of better, but in the end I was sadly disappointed.
This novel is set the same world as the Glasgow trilogy, and some characters from those books appear.
It is a stand alone tale. The writing is deceptively simple, and it's very much a plot driven crime novel. Nothing profound or particularly thought provoking but an extremely engaging, easy read nonetheless.
The narration is fine, some of the stresses grated me a little but overall the narrator suits the book well enough.
One tip : skip through the very long list of characters at the opening of the novel. You won't need them - this isn't Tolstoy - and all characters are introduced fully in the text. This list might be fine in print but really adds nothing to an audiobook.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Using similar characters from other books it starts to build up a great history of a serial story.