- File Size: 1933 KB
- Print Length: 426 pages
- Publication Date: January 9, 2018
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B078XJWW1C
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,130 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Dead Letters (Georgia Xenakis Book 1) Kindle Edition
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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The characters are particularly well drawn. Who we will see again will depend on the choices Georgia makes in the next installment.
Don’t be fooled by the lackluster cover, or the heroines disorientation early in the book. Like Haddam herself, Georgia is brilliant. It looks like this may be the start of a new series, and I for one am all for it.
Mind you, I speak as a writer and as a Philadelphia lawyer. You Demarkian fans will know what I mean.
So now we’re having at it once more, trying a fresh start, and I was frankly delighted to hear that lovely voice of reason again, that familiar narrative turn. Demarkian’s voice, and to a lesser extent Bennis Hannaford’s, and as immediately identifiable as Joan Hess in that horrible final Amelia Peabody Emerson novel. Our protagonist’s wonderful, insightful stream of thought is all that recommends Dead Letters.
The rest of it is sheer silliness, with that one intelligent narrative thread running through three characters, two of whom are ultimately the same character, plus a lot of plastic, hastily-contrived examples of local color, pieces of scenery. I had no trouble naming the murderer ten minutes in. I know mysteries, but anyone could.
That cowboy cop is simply not believable in any sense, certainly not in his relationship to our heroine. He’s another computer-generated composite, an attractive arrangement of intriguing idiosyncrasies. There’s a final touch, a prosthetic leg, that makes him truly laughable, a spoof on his own lame literary type.
There’s a drift into the criminal that starts things off; beyond that, nothing about anybody’s motivations is remotely believable. (Spoiler alert here.) Josh’s father wouldn’t have framed him to begin with, and there’s certainly not enough background to support his action. Josh himself is way too good to be true; what’s more, he and the cowboy are basically the same person. The entire solution is so incoherent the narrator would never have solved it, period, let alone outsmarted the police. Her conclusions are random, baseless. Typos abound, but this is inexplicably true of most of Haddam’s later work. The title doesn’t make enough sense. Even Annie is just a cliché. And the dog. Really? The dog at the end?
It’s only that I wished so much here! How I loved encountering that addictive narrative voice again! And if only it could be owned by someone leading a rational existence, not surrounded by insulting clichés, with maybe even given a real human partner to confide in. Okay, okay, a steadying hand may be too Gregor-to-Bennis. Here’s a thought: how about our heroine is the stable, sensible one? She has it in her. The cowboy can be the impulsive idiot always in trouble with the municipal powers that be. It can be good, and still fresh.
Whaddya you think?
And fix his damn leg.