Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Devil Went Down to Austin by Rick Riordan

Rating: WARTY!

Though it was read quite competently by Tom Stechschulte, and though it started out reasonably well after a slightly rocky first couple of chapters, this audiobook soon devolved into endless family politics with very little of interest to me happening, so I started skipping and skimming, and then quickly gave it up as a bad job. Life is too short to waste on stories which don't grip you. I skipped to the end before I dropped it off back at the library and discovered, not to my surprise at all, that the main suspect turned out to be not the real bad guy, and one of the guys I'd encountered briefly earlier, who I'd tagged as a possible main villain was actually the villain, so no real surprises at all.

This is apparently number four in the "Tres Navarre" series, that name (the first part of which is pronounced 'Trace') being the name of the main character. If I'd known that before I picked it up, I'd not have picked it up. As it was, it looked like it might be interesting, and it was a story set in central Texas, but it really could have been set anywhere and remained the same story (with local details changed of course), which meant it wasn't really about Texas. It was a stand-alone - that is to say, as far as I could see I didn't feel I'd missed anything by 'starting' this series at number four. On the other hand, I didn't really feel I'd missed anything when I DNF'd it, either!

I liked the idea of the PI coming to Austin to teach literature for the summer (although he actually does no teaching!), and that this brother is a software engineer who is in trouble with his new anti-virus app, but neither of these things really played a large part in the story except as a rather flimsy background.

Most of it (at least the parts that I listened to) was boring. There was far too much extraneous detail, and far too much tedious twisted family history which some readers might like but which turns me off a story. For me it made a stodgy dough of a recipe which the occasional nice turn of phrase did nothing at all to leaven in the long-run. Based on what I did listen to, and the uninventive ending, I can't recommend this one. Maybe Rick Riordan should stick to his Percy Jackson series?

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