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Mania Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 2009
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This book starts off with a bang, or perhaps a slice. Either way, it's a terrific start that pulls you right into Nick's world as he and his brother are attacked by a vagrant, an attack which results in his brother's death.
The story then goes back in time to a couple of months before the attack. This is a common tactic, but it's still not one of my favorites. I don't really like knowing what happened first. My dislike stems from the fact that when I already know what happened, I find myself rushing through the back-story with a `get to the action' attitude. This author does do a better job using this format than some because he switches from past to present often, telling the current and the back-story at the same time. It did get a little confusing now and then, especially when I had to put the book down for awhile to do other things. However, overall, it was an interesting way to tell the story.
The story is told mostly from Nick's viewpoint, which is an excellent method to hold suspense due to his brief memory lapses. However, for some inane reason, there are occasional bits thrown in from other viewpoints. Not only are these portions unnecessary, but one such bit actually gave away a major spoiler. It wasn't a direct giveaway, just one sentence that hinted at something, and perhaps some people will miss it. After reading that bit, I kept thinking, "No, I have to be wrong. No author would give so much away right in the beginning." Unfortunately, I was not wrong, which ruined quite a bit of the ending for me.
As I stated, the book starts off at a good pace with a fast draw, but there are some middle portions that drag almost interminably. For instance, Nick makes a trip to visit a childhood girlfriend. Since she had nothing to do with the actual plot, I thought perhaps the visit was thrown in for character development. However, there really seemed to be no purpose at all as there was no revelation or great epiphany. It was just filler.
The book does pick up in the last quarter. As a matter of fact, the ending is a somewhat edge-of-your-seat type where multiple surprises are revealed.
Character Development: 4 Stars
Nick is a terrific, well-rounded character. The reader can really feel his pain and confusion throughout the story.
Through Nick's interactions and observations, the reader can get a real feel for Sam, his brother. The flashbacks of their childhood also provide some interesting insight into Sam's personality.
Nick's girlfriend is the only real character failure in the book. Throughout the novel, she is not given any real play, even though she is a major player.
Writing Style: 5 Stars
With tight prose, Mr. Larsen has an excellent writing style. His terrific sentence structuring, combined with gritty, realistic dialogue work will in this genre. His descriptions are compelling and powerful.
The action scenes are also very well written. I love it when I can picture action segments in my head without any confusion about who is doing what.
Editing/Formatting: 5 Stars
Both were of professional quality.
Rating: PG-15 for Adult Situations, Violence, and some Sexual Scenes and Conversation
I noticed an interplay of black and white, shadow and light, throughout the book. Dark and dreary depictions of Seattle, and crisp, white winters in Minnesota. This seemed to reflect the struggle in Nick's mind between good and evil, substance and fancy.
The story Larsen created shifted and swirled, and rolled this way and that like a ball of yarn dropped on the floor. Just when I thought I had a firm grasp on what was happening, the story slipped through my fingers, just as Nick's grasp on reality also faltered.
This is one of my favorite passages because it illustrates this interplay so well:
"Small white pieces of moonlight seemed to be sewn into its fabric, and as it twisted and floated in the air, shadow played on the white marble countertop beneath it."
I look forward to reading more of Larsen's work.
I eagerly await the next Craig Larsen book, due in 2010. I'll actually buy that one.
Most recent customer reviews
The narrative abruptly jumps in space and time without adequate cues,...Read more