Mystery by Jonathan Kellerman
I’m trying out a new author today. I like crime novels and thrillers and have seen this author’s name all the time but for some reason never got further than picking up one of his novels, reading the first paragraph or maybe a page, thinking to myself, nah… and putting it back on the shelf. Something just doesn’t make me want to read on, mostly I think because it’s written in that kind of hardboiled style, which doesn’t really appeal to me. Terse. Short sentences. Like the writer is standing in a dark alleyway. Collar pulled up against the biting chill of a New York November. Speaking out of the side of his mouth.
Anyway, I dashed into the library with no real time to browse, and picked up this book along with a few others. Even then I didn’t read it until all the others were done and I was at a real loose end. With a sigh, I sat down and opened the first page …
… and it’s OK… quite clever plotting, with lots of twists and turns. I’m usually pretty good at spotting who did what fairly early on, but with this one, although I did have a faint suspicion early on, it got lost in the later machinations of the plot, and it was right down to the penultimate chapter before I twigged – well, pretty much at the point where the author actually let the cat out of the bag, to be honest. So, high five Mr Kellerman for that!
On the other hand, there is a major glaring flaw of logic in the book which made me jump about in a fit of rage, which is this - there are two characters in the book called Suki and Rosalynn. Sisters, a year apart in age. And there is a long explanation of how their super scientific parents named them Suki and Rosalynn so that, for a joke haha, they could collectively call them sukrose (sucrose = sugar, geddit?) except that, as far as I can see, unless they were involved in some pretty weird genetic tinkering, how would the parents have known, when they had daughter number one and named her Suki, that they’d then have daughter number two who they could name Rose, in order to make the joke work? (I read another book once which was predicated on four sisters deliberately named after the characters in Little Women. Again – how do the parents know that this cunning plan is going to work out? The author can do it because the author is naming all the characters at once – but in real life, guys, IT DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT!!) And then, just to add another layer of annoyance, this complicated “joke”, is completely obliterated later in the book when the author informs us that “Suki” isn’t actually the character’s name at all, and she is in fact called Samantha.
These two sisters are described as possessing cascades of long black hair. One of them is wearing a distinctive red and black outfit. Then later in the book, along come two more black-haired girls wearing red and black outfits. Confusing, for sure. It suggests that at some point in time they were the same two girls, and that somewhere in his drafting-and-rewriting process the author changed his mind but made a bit of hash of the rewrite. I don’t blame Mr Kellerman – I know that things go awry in the rewriting process very easily. He might want to consider what he pays his editor for, though.
Final question - will I read another by this author? – maybe…from the library. I don’t think I’d actually buy one.
I had a bar of Madecasse toasted coconut chocolate I'd bought from Waitrose a couple of days earlier. Mouth-puckeringly bitter, with just enough coconut to fill your mouth with annoying bits of shredded cardboardy-texture something but not enough to taste, as any coconut flavour was completely overpowered by the chocolate. My feelings about the chocolate pretty much echo my feelings about the book – it fulfilled a need at the time but unlikely to be repeated any time soon. I like the packaging, though.