Top critical review
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An Average Plot Brilliantly Written
on 31 January 2010
This is the hardest book to rate that I've come across so far. Let's start with the positives. Firstly, it is exquisitely written. I can't think of a thriller writer who manages to be so visceral and so vivid with so few words - the sign of a truly accomplished author. Some of his prose is almost poetic; his imagery surprisingly beautiful at times. It took me a couple of chapters (they're very short) to get used to Montanari's voice, but thereafter it was a pleasure to read. Secondly, I raced through it, reading more and more each time I dipped into it. Again that's testament to the tension that Montanari ratchets up. The dialogue's great too, with just enough cop humour and jargon to make it all very authentic. BUT...At the end of the day, this is just another serial killer thriller, with your seen-one, seen-em-all detective. Yes, you guessed it, he's divorced. Yes, he's lost a partner or friend from the force. Yes, he's got a thing about coffee. It really is unbelievably formulaic. Which is a shame because, man, the guy can write. The killer's link to Santeria is never adequately explained, leaving you thinking that it's thrown in simply to justify the violence and gore. The plot becomes marginally over-complicated, a factor thas is compounded by the number of aliases and similar-sounding names among the cast of characters. (I found 'Paris' to be a very odd name for a hero. For me 'Paris' is a pretty-boy from Greek mythology not a hardboiled Cleveland cop). So, how many stars do you give a book that you really enjoyed but left you feeling frustrated? On the basis that there's no 3.5 option, I'm rounding down because I value originality and this plot was entirely generic. However, there's no doubt that I will read another because Montanari is an author with immense talent.