Top positive review
11 people found this helpful
not Rendell's best, but still good...
on 1 February 2004
The basic idea with such writers as Rendell, who inhabit the top echelons of crime writing along with P.D. James, Ian Rankin and Regind Hill is, they can't write bad books. They don't suddenly loose their powers that have held them in such good stead for so many years. However, what they may do is write a book that is different, that doesn't appeal so strongly to some people. This is much the case here. The Rottweiler is not among Rendell's best work (as James's "The Murder Room" wasn't), but it isn't actually a BAD book. Rendell has just turned her hand in a different direction, one that people may not like quite as much... This is much the case here.
Some aspects of this book are, technically, excellent. For example, as other reviewers have pointed out: how Rendell deals with themes of love, the needs of men and women for each other. Also, ideas of how we percieve and others, and of the power of the media and of assumption. Also, RR's manipulation of the reader is done here better than ever before. As has already been pointed out, that rather perplexing feeling of empathy (NOT sympathy) she makes us feel for the killer, but the anger we feel towards a malicious blackmailer. In those respects, Rendell is still on her throne, possibly more than ever before. While "The Babes in the Wood", her last, was full of symbolism, this is full of demonstration.
While here, as always, she creates some great characters, a couple of them feel a bit cliche, possibly a bit silly. However, that leads me onto another point. The fact that they are actually SUPPOSED to be silly. The Rottweiler is actually a pretty funny book, in parts definitely a social satire, but if you don't realise that it's supposed to be, then some bits of it could fall apart and the tone possibly doesn't feel quite right. What you think of The Rottweiler probably depends upon how you look at it, how you expected it to be. If you look at it from the right angle (which is different one from the one you'd normally look at Rendell's work) then this is a very good book. If you don't look at it right, then, yes you could easily not like The Rottweiler at all.
As I say, personally, I don't think it's her best (there's no real "shock" factor as there is sometimes) but I still enjoyed it a lot, and some bits of it really made me think. I reccomend it, but only for those capable of looking at it in the right way.