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This book starts off quite well, with a grisly and vivid double hanging. Both the victims have had their hands hacked off. Us thriller lovers (I know, we...) certainly can get into a little grisly and vivid. The author creates a cast of characters, and for a while it suffices to get to know them, and to try to figure out what the heck is going on. The various plots then turn extremely vague and cliche-ish. Always with the rainy and foggy nights. Always with the waiting for the bad guy(s) to make a sound or start a gun battle. The plots then go off into quite a number of directions, and by about the middle of the book I gave up. Too many shady and mysterious pasts. Way too many people chasing each other and running away from each other for dark, vague, undisclosed reasons. It's hard to tell who the primary characters are by the middle of the book, and this is just not good writing. Christopher Lane is a perfectly good narrator, but the material he is given here is so mushy and soap-opera-ish that at some point you just cease to care about trying to solve all of these puzzles. A good writer draws his primary characters fairly quickly, so that you care about them and are curious to see what happens to them. Just a bunch of people skulking about in the atmospheric wintry weather does not a good novel make. Where are the editors these days? Maybe I'm getting spoiled by reading the masters of this craft: Martin Cruz Smith, Timothy Hallinan, Elmore Leonard, Robert B. Parker, Thomas Perry: these guys know how to write, how to grab you and make you hold on, start to accelerate the plot and then confuse you with a few red herrings...the great ones even lead you to a marvelous conclusion, rather than a list of tedious wrapping up of loose ends. Where can I find some more writers like these? Anyone?
4 of 6 people found this review helpful
Lots of movement and suspense, well-drawn characters (including one really impressive 'weasel' character who reminded me a bit of Angel on the old Rockford Files), a good sense of place (the Hamptons, though -- just a detail -- a few locales do get mispronounced, like Jobs-jahbs instead of Jobs-jobes Lane in Southampton.) Considerable international intrigue also blends into what starts as a local mystery. A thoroughly enjoyable 'read', and I can definitely see why Christopher Lane has so many narration credits -- he's truly wonderful.