Top critical review
27 people found this helpful
Not a bad read
on July 24, 2001
I enjoyed reading this book, and I've decided that being an enjoyable read is worth 3 stars. There were a couple of things that bothered me about it though.
It starts off as sort of a murder mystery, with a group of reporters investigating the murder of a sheriff in a sparsely populated county. The narrator is the brother of the reporter who heads the investigation. The plot eventually moves away from this theme, and becomes sort of jammed between a character study of the narrator and his brother, an indictment of media morality, and some sort of Greek-style tragedy. The overall effect is that the book wanders a bit, and doesn't seem to be able to decide what it's trying to do. It almost seemed like whenever the book got perilously close to making a statement, it backed off and went in a different direction. This is something of a pet peeve of mine, as I think sometimes writers do this kind of thing to seem mysterious and profound, under the assumption that being understandable means being simple and shallow.
Other than that, the book was well written and for the most part the characters were interesting, although most of them were not very likable. I think the book would have been better if the narrator's brother Ward, who was perhaps the central figure of the book, had a detectable personality instead of just acting like a journalistic robot. The book was saved by the narrator, whom it was possible to sympathize with, and even like.
Overall I would mildly recommend it, but don't feel like it is a must read.