6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Solid Novella Lacks That Little Bit Extra,
This review is from: All That I Have (Paperback)One of my favorite books last year was Freeman's Go with Me, so I grabbed this new book from him with pretty high expectations. Unfortunately, it's not nearly as gripping as that was, but it's still a sturdy novella that should appeal to fans of his other novels. The story revolves around Sheriff Wing, who is responsible with maintaining law and order for 19 Vermont townships, in cooperation with the state police. His approach to "sheriffing" is a kind of laissez faire one, preferring to give people and events the space and time to work things out naturally, rather than intercede at the drop of a hat. The problem is that this approach (learned from his 80+ year-old mentor) may not be as effective in today's America as it was back when he first started policework in the '70s.
This bubbles up when he faced with a local young troublemaker who seems to have broken into a fancy vacation home and stolen a safe. It seems this particular home belongs to some kind of Russian mafiya boss, and the Russians aren't too particular about how they get their safe back. Sheriff Wing sets out to track the troublemaker down, get the safe back, and get him out of town -- without letting the Russians unleash their thugs on him. Meanwhile, Wing's gung-ho deputy is baying for the blood of the troublemaker, while accusing the Sheriff of not doing his duty and being too soft for the times.
The story is narrated by Wing in a kind of folksy deadpan voice that drifts off at times to explain how he got into sheriffing, how he met his wife, and other such background. And while reading this, it's awfully hard not to be reminded of the old-time Sheriff Bell of Cormac McCarthy's excellent book, No Country for Old Men. The books share many of the same themes, some of the same deadpan tone (although this one isn't anywhere near as violent), and both authors have an excellent ear for dialogue. Unfortunately, this feels just a shade more ethereal in some way, and thus isn't as gripping -- still, a good read.