**Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Please note, changes to the manuscript may take place after publishing. Thank you Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer!**
I love a good cat & mouse story. A jaded, surly detective pursuing a psychopath story. In some ways this was a good fit, in other ways it didn’t live up to expectations. I feel it’s important for me to note right up front that this book is not breaking any new ground in the genre. Czarcik is like so many other surly over-the-hill detectives in detective novels. He likes booze, cocaine and hookers and doesn’t like following the rules. Nothing new to see here. The killer styles himself an avenging angel, a vigilante bringing justice to the helpless victims. Again there is nothing new here. So, if you aren’t bringing anything new to the table, you really need to give me a good chase.
Ultimately that is where this book failed for me, the chase. We find out who the killer is in the 3rd chapter and find out his whole plan about 40 pages after that. Once we know those two things, there’s not much left to do except chase him down and stop him, right? That was a very slow process, it seemed to take a long, long time. We spend about 275 pages on the first 3 victims, then rush through the entire last 2 victims and finally stopping the killer in less than 75 pages. We spent way too much time on the first half, not early enough time on the second half.
Another odd point for me was the writing itself. Technically, there is nothing wrong with the writing. The grammar and spelling are solid. The narrative is enjoyable. But the author seemed to occasionally throw things in that were just strange. And because they didn’t make sense, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what he meant rather than enjoying the narrative. For example, in a single paragraph the author managed to change a single character’s eye color 3 separate times. First her eyes were described as deep blue, got it. A sentence later they were “more like opal than ice”. Um, okay, opal is generally iridescent though. I have seen blue opals, but they aren’t deep blue but then neither is ice. So is it deep blue? Or blue opal? Then two sentences later they were sapphire. Which again, is a totally different color than either deep blue or blue opal. So I spent about 10 minutes trying to figure out what color her eyes were instead of continuing to read. I think the author tried to get too fancy.
Two more minor gripes. First, can we stop giving people psychic powers but insisting they aren’t psychic? The not-psychic-but-kind-of-psychic “rush” that Czarcik gets was strange, never explained and didn’t make a lick of sense. At one point he is tipped off by someone mentioning how they wouldn’t want to be the insurance adjuster who has to come out to the murder scene. Although I have no idea why an insurance adjuster would be necessary at a murder scene but somehow this leads Czarcik on a long, winding path from insurance adjuster to….AH HA! Someone is keeping a secret from me….about insurance….sort of, but in the end not really. Very weird.
So, I know this sounds like a book I didn’t really like, and on the whole it was disappointing. But it did keep my interest. I did want to find out how it ended. I enjoyed Czarcik as a character. I enjoyed the writing. So overall, it was not a great book but it was entertaining and worth the read.
I laughed, I cried, it moved me Bob. Ok, in all silliness... this is pretty entertaining. First you have the scheming of the Count of Mountjoy, who bemoans his apparent mediocrity, then you have the opportunity, which is the the Grand Duchess' desire for a fur coat. So he seizes said opportunity and sends a loan request to the US for $5 million to send a rocket to the moon, and a fur coat. The Sec. of which ever division whose lap this request fell to, after discussing it with his advisor, *granted* the Grand Duchy of Finwick $50 million for their space exploration. Of course, as expected, they Ass-You-Me'd that this was going to actually be used for improvements like roads and indoor plumbing.
Heh. They even filled the request for a spare rocket (one of the Saturns) figuring it would be used for a giant water heater.
Imagine everyone's surprise when the Grand Duchy of Finwick beat both the US and the USSR to the moon, in a cast-off rocket, powered by a hogshead of a very good year and a few hundred pounds of iron fillings.
And the highlight? They almost forgot the fur coat.
Technically this is a reread but it's been so long...
I read this years ago, when in hs. It was in the library and the cover caught my eye. I'd mostly forgotten about it though until several years ago while poking around a UBS, I stumbled across a sequel. I debated about it for months before finally getting it (amazingly enough, it was still there), but it was another year or three before I found *this* one. I have yet to see the other two books in the series.
So what's it about? Oh, a tiny nation that not many know about is in a pickle. The population has grown and their one export isn't quite enough to support them anymore. It doesn't help that a vintner in CA has taken it upon themselves to make a counterfeit version of said export, and their protests have been ignored. So... they declare war on the US, which also is ignored...or thought of as a practical joke. And...they invade.
At the time of their arrival, the US is conducting a coast wide air raid drill so they're met with little resistance. Of course, their being armed and outfitted as 15th century soldiers combined with the tendency for humans to be dumb, panicky animals when under pressure leads to rumors of a Mars invasion.
The long and the short of it is they end up with this new bomb a top scientist for the US has cobbled together in a university lab...well, they end up with the scientist too...and they force the Big 3 to disarm.
I have to say, when I read it the first time, I wasn't really ready I guess. I got the satire and the humor, but not really the moral lessons if you will. Then too, the Cold War ended around that time so... And I'm not so sure about the "little guys" so to speak. A few of them don't get along that well, certainly not well enough that they wouldn't be tempted to fill the power void. Anyway, off to the Moon. Hahah! We'll see if I ever find the other two.