Showing posts with label Karin Slaughter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Karin Slaughter. Show all posts

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Snatched by Karin Slaughter

Rating: WORTHY!

This was a very short audiobook I picked up on spec from the library and it turned out, aside from a couple of dumb bits, to be not too bad of a story despite it being volume 5.5 in the Will Trent series. This is the second of this author's books I've reviewed. I did not at all like Undone which I read back in November of 2013, but this was a different story. Literally!

I am not a series fan so I won't be following this character or this series, but notwithstanding some negative comments from Georgia readers as to Karin Slaughter's lack of a decent grasp of law enforcement procedures in that state, this little interlude didn't sound bad to my ears, especially since reader Kathleen Early did a good job. My ears, FYI, demand only a decent story without too much of Le Stupide. I'm not a stickler for Tom Clancy-style authenticity in a novel. For me that spoils a story by bogging it down. I don't like it to be a dumb story, but I really don't care if some corners are cut (or missed altogether!) if the story is worth reading overall.

Will is apparently in his boss's bad graces and is consigned to toilet duty at the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International airport. Why his police department is doing this rather than airport security, or as we're reminded and which is actually a plot point, one of the other law enforcement agencies which cover this airport, is unexplained. Why he has to sit there inside one of the stalls for eight hours rather than simply sit comfortably outside and observe who goes in, entering only if it looks like some guys actually are going to be indulging in lewd behavior is a mystery, too.

But the point is that he gets a hunch about a guy who is literally hauling a young girl through the airport and which pair momentarily stop in the toilet. Will goes after them and pretty soon it becomes obvious that his hunch was right and that this is an abduction, but Will loses track of the pair and when he reacquires them, the girl is gone. He brings the guy in for questioning.

This brings me to three problems I had with this story. Will is supposed to be a seasoned police officer, yet he three major screw-ups. The first is that he wasted his phone battery charge playing games in the loo so now he can't use it to call his partner. The second is that he has no radio he could use, which made no sense to me, and the third is that when he chases the guy in the airport parking garage, he never once identifies himself as a police officer.

All of those things would have been fine if we'd been given some half-way decent reason for why things were that way, like maybe that he'd forgotten to charge his phone the night before and the charger in his car was missing or broken, that there had been no spare radios at the precinct to bring on the job with him that morning, and that he had called out who he was but some truck horn had drowned out his voice or something! It's easy to do, and to fail to do these things as a writer, makes your character look dumb or you look like a poor writer.

The failure to identify himself never was a plot issue so he could well have called out who he was, so forgetting to write that he had identified himself made no sense, but the lack of a communication device was not well done. Nor was it explained why Will's poor partner was condemned to airport duty with him, either! But those issues aside, I did like the story and I thought it was a worthy read.

I do not think that it's worth twenty dollars for the audiobook! This is the only format it seems to be available in (her links on her website do not work(!) and I was unable to find an ebook version on B&N. Karin Slaughter is an internationally best selling author who actually makes a living from her writing. Surely she could give this one away as a freebie? I don't get the mentality of some authors, but that said, she does support libraries, so she's not completely evil!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Undone by Karin Slaughter

Rating: WARTY!

This was narrated quite adequately by Natalie Ross, but she's no Emily Gray. No one is! Except Emily Gray, of course.... What could be better than a murder mystery written by someone called Slaughter?! Well, it turns out, anything! Slaughter was actually the working title of one of my own murder mysteries which I hope to publish before so very long. This one, unfortunately, began in a way that made me dislike it and made me really feel that I wouldn't be around to hear the ending, but it got slowly better and I became ready to give it a fair hearing - quite literally! I should have listened to my first impressions.

The problem with audio books is that you cannot skip the prologue very readily. I hate prologues, but after skipping to track eleven (yes, it goes to eleven) and still finding no announcement of "Chapter one" I felt I had no choice but to listen to it otherwise I'd arrive at work having heard none of it, but what a waste of my time it was. Note that the tracks on this audio version are of the kind where there are ninety-freaking-nine of them on each disk, but each track is less than a minute long. I'm not a fan of that arrangement.

Given that both the prologue and first chapter were pure time-wasting bullshit and could have been entirely done-away with (for a murder mystery, you can do away with a lot! I mean, why not?!), I wasn't thrilled at that point. Had this been a new author, the publisher would have insisted upon it! Fortunately we can self-publish these days and don't have to kow-tow to those people any more, but this does, of course, not mean that every novel is going to be a classic, far from it.

So, finally we get to the mystery, but there's no murder yet! Interesting? Not really. A woman is hit on the highway. She's naked and wandering in the road. She's taken to the hospital where it becomes clear she has been held captive and horribly tortured by some utterly sick person. Detective Will Trent happens to be at the hospital when she's brought in, so he gloms onto the case with his partner, Faith, who happened to be a patient of Doctor Sarah who diagnoses her with Type 2 diabetes. This was wa-a-a-a-ay the hell too much Stephen King style (forget that these are merely notes to flesh-out characters, and include every blessed thing you ever thought of in connection with this novel actually in the novel thank you very much) back-story. I don't care about the life history and three-or-four generation ancestry of every bit-player in your novel. Just the facts, ma'am! Just the facts! And if you insist upon repeatedly including all that extraneous crap I will ditch your novel like it has King written all over it.

Day two of the Undone watch: I had to skip most of disk three as Slaughter got her ass in a sling with some woman going shopping for cupcakes at an ungodly hour in the morning with her toddler. This section was so unutterably tedious and so depressing that I simply skipped track after track after track to get away from it. I may have skipped something important in the process, but rest fully-assured that I am not going back to find it. No fear! Seriously, do I need to know that she got plastic bags, felt guilty, and instead of recycling them, she made things worse by simply tossing them into the trash, and then she undid the trunk of her SUV with a remote and watched it slide smoothly open? No! A thousand times no! Can we get on with the story please, instead of being force-fed yet another miserable lesson on how much you love to hear yourself write?

I also got to hear about Will Trent and his dyslexia. Evidently, Will is now part of the inevitable sleuthing series, and that's fine if you can get away with it, but must we hobble every single detective in every single novel with quirks? And if I have to hear any more about Doctor Sarah and her lot in life I will overdose this CD set with insulin. Can you imagine how godawful this would be if it were first person PoV?! I have a horrible feeling that Will and Sarah are destined to be together, which will favor her a lot more than it favors him. But the thing is, I started not to care, not even remotely, not even a little bit.

I reached disk 6 of this and could not stand it any more. The basic story was pretty interesting and I would have liked to have finished it, but Slaughter prevented me from doing this by her blind insistence upon larding up every corner of this novel with endless extraneous endless tedious endless mindless endless numbing endless boring endless gratuitous endless endless endless nit-picking details in the extreme. I had absolutely no interest in some peripheral character having a stain on his shirt or the life history of a cantankerous hippie witness. I was rendered into a state of completely detesting Doctor Sarah because of the endless maudlin horseshit of her pining for nearly four years for her dead husband. We're told he died in the line of duty and it's hardly surprising if his duty was living with this whiny-assed loser. Fine, make the point if it's relevant to the story, but then do we honestly have to re-live that same point over and over and endlessly over again every-single-time-without-fail that we meet this same character? Did the original hardback version of this novel come with a self-flagellation device?

If this were the last novel on Earth and I was desperate beyond description for a read, I would use the pages for toilet paper rather than read this crap. I'd rather read Charlaine Harris - that's how bad this volume is! To paraphrase Monty Python's Dead Parrot sketch, this novel has "...passed on. This novel is no more. It has ceased to be. It's expired and gone to meet its maker. This is a late novel. It's a stiff. Bereft of life, it rests in peace. If you hadn't recorded it on disks, it would be pushing up the daisies. It's run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This is an ex-novel." And it came undone. Rest in Pieces.