Top critical review
Reviewed in the United States on September 2, 2020
I’m a great fan of Robert Crais, but this book feels like he wrote it at the beginning of his career, stuck it in a drawer, then just pulled it out recently—now that he’s famous—and published it.
I’m so used to Crais giving his characters strong and unique voices that I was astonished over this book lacking that completely. The protagonist sounded like the author talking the whole way through.
Crais also wrote in the rookie style of “telling” rather than “showing,” and also going into long expository explanations about what was going on. This was disappointing, as it’s not his norm.
And because he did this, he utterly failed to engage me in the plot or the characters.
The worst was that the book flowed in a very confusing manner (or didn’t flow). Usually a character does a gesture, and then the dialogue of that character comes right after the gesture.
Marzik looked miffed. “Kelso asked us not to attend.”
But Crais would have a character do a gesture, then have the dialogue on the next line:
Marzik looked miffed.
“Kelso asked us not to attend.”
Then the next person would jump in to speak, then another person, with no “he said, she said” dialogue tags. I was constantly confused over who was speaking, and this took me out of the story. Another shocking fail on Crais’s part.
His main character of Carol Starkey was also very dark—she wasn’t anyone fun to hang out with for the length of a book—and her burgeoning love for ATF agent Pell was under-developed to the point of being unbelievable.
The only thing good about this book was the plot, and because the author failed to engage me emotionally in what was going on, even that lacked.
This was really a 2-star read for me, but I gave Crais 3 on this one, because normally he’s a great writer, and I didn’t want to destroy his star count by too much.
But overall I recommend passing on this book.