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Posted October 2, 2009
Don't Waste Your Time
Let me preface this by saying that I'm a big fan of Mr. Swain's Tony Valentine series. That said, he should really stick to the "casino noir." The characters in those books are much more likeable and a whole lot more believable. As a matter of fact, the cameo by Tony Valentine in "The Night Monster" is the only worthwhile part of the book. Without it, I would have given it 0 stars.
Jack Carpenter is not a very likeable guy. I'm sorry, but that's important. What makes Tony Valentine so engaging is his relationships with his son, daughter-in-law and secretary. Over the course of three books, Carpenter has shown none of this. We keep hearing about his long suffering ex-wife, but she didn't even have a speaking part in the latest entry of this series. His relationship with his daughter also seems strained and distant. I just can't root for the guy. Which is a shame, because finding missing kids is truly God's work.
I guess he is the smartest ex-cop ever. Just ask him. And he wrestles alligators, too! Gimme a break. I realize it's Florida and the character is part Seminole, but its a silly stereotype. When he recovered the jewelry for the "Seven Dwarfs" at the very first pawn shop he entered, I almost threw the book in the garbage. He must be psychic, too. Has the author done any research with real cops?
His villains are getting more and more ridiculous. A giant? PUH-LEEZE. Grow up. An abandoned mental institution? Try reading "Shutter Island" to see that setting in the hands of a professional.
Let me reiterate that I love Mr. Swain's Tony Valentine series. Let's hope he gets back to it as soon as possible. He should leave the darker stuff in the hands of the Dennis Lehanes of the literary world.
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Posted December 24, 2009
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