Monday, February 15, 2010

Doors Open cements Rankin's reputation

Books 15 and 16 comprise the range of reading experience, from fast-paced pleasure to a slog through a messy fraud of a book.

The pleasurable read belonged to Ian Rankin. Doors Open was issued in 2008 in Great Britain, but it was just released here last month.

Doors Open is the story of a millionaire who has grown bored. His boredom leads him into planning an art heist with a banker and an art professor. The heist goes well, but -- as you would expect -- nothing else does in this thoroughly entertaining thriller.

Rankin is one of the leading writers in the popular thriller/crime/mystery genre and Doors Opens only serves to solidify his street cred among readers.

A Quiet Belief in Angels is the first book from R.J. Ellory. Frankly, I hope it is his last. It's a misogynistic, disturbing mess; over-written from the standpoint of content and style. Obstensibly set in Georgia before WW II, the characters don't sound like crackers. This is one of those novels where every adult in well spoken and far wiser than almost anyone you've met in real life.

And then there are the errors of chronology. Early in the book, when a particular event takes place, it's 1943 and our narrator is 15. One hundred pages later, recalling the same event, it was 1942 and he was 14. I could let errors of commission like that slide if the entire book weren't so bad.

Every woman in this novel -- every woman -- dies a horrible and disturbing death. Yes, this book does have something to do with a serial killer, but the fate of some of these woman goes beyond that.

The writing, stylistically, is turgid. It might be accepted as elegant by some with its nascent dawns, but try reading it. This is the first book in a long, long time that I considered abandoning before I was midway through. I stayed to the end and now I'm wondering why.

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