Ms. Reichs books appeal to my basic nerdiness in a really good way. I am an investigator (not criminal - insurance) and I really need at least some books written by people who are used to thinking about things and analyzing them, and who have detailed and specialized...
Ms. Reichs books appeal to my basic nerdiness in a really good way. I am an investigator (not criminal - insurance) and I really need at least some books written by people who are used to thinking about things and analyzing them, and who have detailed and specialized knowledge of a subject. I love my more emotional writers as well, don''t get me wrong, but I really NEED some quantity of the more analytical type of writer. It is literally a relief to me to read Ms. Reich''s books after some of the other books I read (and I have different reasons for enjoying those).
I guess there is always some compromise (when writing a novel) over how life actually goes, and there seems to be an unwritten (or maybe it is actually written somewhere) that the protagonist has to get themselves in danger and nearly die in every mystery. I actually hate this, but I understand that there must be a marketing reason for this, and I admit that I am not ever anyone''s demographic for marketing because I am not close enough to the "norm" for advertising to the masses.
However, this "dire danger" problem is usually resolved in a novel by having the protagonist do something either downright stupid or something even the reader would know better than to do, thus involving themselves in a very dangerous situation from which they have to extract themselves or be extracted. This just pisses me off.
As you can probably guess, I enjoy non-fiction books which involve mystery and investigation, though not typically murder investigations. Also, I am one of the few (I think) that DO NOT require a murder to take place in a Mystery novel in order to enjoy it. It just seems like there is only one way Americans do Mysteries and that is with murder involved. Okay, whatever. I live here, I don''t make the rules. I just pick what I like or love out of what is available, and keep looking, like any consumer.
Ms. Reich''s books do involve some of this "dire danger" sort of thing, and as noted above, I am pretty sure she is required to include this (or perhaps she does it because most people besides me do like it). However her books usually have less of the really stupid actions by the protagonist than some other books I have read, and she makes an effort to make her protagonist get into dire danger more by chance than the weak plot twist of having the character do something incredibly stupid and out of character just so you can get them in danger. So bless her for that effort!
And I do enjoy it when her character suddenly realizes she has not asked the right question, or needs to look at something from a different angle. In my personal experience, this is something which is very helpful in unravelling a mystery or other problem in life.
I think Ms. Reich keeps her books interesting, entertaining, suspenseful without too much suspense, involves human foibles in characterization and plot as necessary but not too often, and does the best she can to keep in line with the "protagonist must be endangered" rule while trying to keep it as rational as possible. Kudos to her for making the effort! Frankly, I can see it must be hard, especially for someone of her background, to get the plot where you want/need it to go without the "dire danger" being too much of a stretch. I really do get it that readers of novels might want this spicy element of danger. I can''t help it that I don''t. I know how a real investigation can go, having done some or participated in some myself. I found that process very interesting and in fact fascinating, but it does not always or even frequently involve much personal danger unless you are investigating gang murders or something similar. And I know it probably seems boring to some people.
I particularly enjoyed most of this book, more even than I enjoyed her last book. It really was only near the end when the "dire danger" situation starts up that I began to get a little irritated. But in this book, the irritation was minimal.
My best estimation is that if you generally like Ms. Reichs'' books, as I do, then you will love this one! I''ve tried to give you some understanding of my personal viewpoint so that you will understand why I feel the way I do about her books. Because you CAN use all reviews, even negative or partly negative reviews, to help yourself understand if you might like something or not. So if you understand my viewpoint, it may help you understand if this is a book you will like.
Ms. Reichs is right up there in my 10 top favorite authors. Since I have read at least 8400 books in my life so far (14 per week for 3 years and average of 3 per week for 40 years, not including quite a bit of reading from 6 to 13 years of age prior to the 14/week), I think that is saying something!