66 Following

Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Broken Angels
Richard K. Morgan
Progress: 56/468 pages
Introduction to Topology
Bert Mendelson
Progress: 10/224 pages
Basics of Plasma Astrophysics
Claudio Chiuderi, Marco Velli
Progress: 58/250 pages
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena / Stories and Songs (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 454/700 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 166/1102 pages
The Complete Plays and Poems
E.D. Pendry, J.C. Maxwell, Christopher Marlowe
She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies (Oxford World's Classics)
Henry Fielding, David Garrick, Oliver Goldsmith
Progress: 164/448 pages
Gravitation (Physics Series)
Kip Thorne;Kip S. Thorne;Charles W. Misner;John Archibald Wheeler;John Wheeler
Progress: 48/1215 pages
I Am a Cat
Graeme Wilson, Aiko Ito, Sōseki Natsume
Progress: 410/638 pages

Let the Devil Sleep, John Verdon

Let the Devil Sleep - John Verdon

The third volume in an on-going detective series sees a former NYC super-cop, now retired to the sticks get dragged into yet another investigation on an amateur basis. Once again the story is eminently readable and it is an improvement over its predecessors in that it is not blatantly obvious who the mystery killer is - in fact I guessed incorrectly this time.


Unfortunately, other areas of the book have not shown such improvement and indeed there is some retrograde motion in one respect. To talk about them goes somewhat into spoiler territory so I'll hide it, just in case - not that I'm going to tell you whodunnit.



One wonders who our hero became such a successful cop given that he never solves a case, on the available evidence. Three times in a row he merely turns up where the killer is rather than figuring out who it is. It's made out that the hero (who's name I've forgotten having read this months ago, in case you hadn't guessed) is some kind of super-cerebral whizz who can out-profile professional profilers and out-deduce Holmes - but he never does! As far as I can tell his amazing record as the best homicide detective the NYPD has ever had rests entirely on dumb luck.


Here's why (in my opinion): Verdon is desperate for a film deal.


OK, let me expand on that. Almost all Holywood movies have a 3 Act Structure that involves a final act in which there is a violent confrontation that resolves the conflict and a brief concluding scene or scene that wraps up character story arcs. This is the structure Verdon is using in his books  - and I believe he is doing it deliberately in order to make is books movie adaption friendly. He isn't the first and won't be the last.


The trouble is, the same structure could be applied by having the hero solve the case and dash off to save a potential victim. This would be a lot more satisfying given all the fuss made about analytical skills etc. This book is no different from its predecessors in this respect except that the denouement is on a bigger scale - and here's the retrograde bit - the scale is so big it's silly. It's like drafting an action sequence from a Die Hard movie onto a detective story. So the whole thing ends in even worse fashion than merely being somewhat unsatisfying.

(show spoiler)



I didn't pay for any of these three novels and I can't say I'm inclined to shell out money for any future ones. I might give Verdon another chance if a free copy comes my way again, though.