Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Intent to Kill by James Grippando
I didn't get past page 65 or so of this book. I'll tell you why.
The first paragraph of the book starts with "The first thing Ryan found was a hand with part of an arm." But this has nothing to do with a crime. It's a Mr. Potato Head doll that's been thrown about the house. As a reader, I hate having my time wasted. The author feels that he can lure you in then pull the rug out from under you, and make you feel like a dope. Maybe this is some kind of foreshadowing trick, I don't know. I didn't care enough to find out.
The opening of the book was so heavy handed, and after the Mr. Potato Head bit, I didn't want to spend any more time with this book. I realize that in these pot-boilers the plot carries the book, not the characters. We also need a set up. Some newsworthy event that stirs our compassion and intrigues us in some way like a plane crash or train wreck, and this cataclysmic event will then give us a hint of our main character's unique capabilities. But in this book, the set up is not just heavy handed it teeters on the edge of tired cliche.
I know this author has his fans who love his work. One friend of mine told me, "You'll never guess who did it." I should be able to guess if I'm an attentive reader. I just know I don't want to spend the better part of the day being deceived like I was at the beginning. Many of these types of novels will introduce last minute evidence or characters to flush out the story, and for me that's cheating. It's like introducing a new rule in the middle of a baseball game. Sorry, it doesn't work. I'd like to see some of these capable writers reread In Cold Blood and attempt to do something half as good.
After I set this book down, I don't fling books aside anymore, I picked up Shot Through the Heart by Mikal Gilmore. Now that's a book worth reading.