With "Dead Irish" John Lescroat begins his wonderful San Francisco-based thriller series, introducing many of the characters who populate subsequent episodes. I call the series soap-opera thrillers -- meaning no disparagement whatsoever -- because Lescroart devotes so much attention to character development. He makes us feel a real connection to his characters and the intricacies of their lives. I can see how this degree of character development might annoy some thriller fans who want plenty of action, without non-essential distractions. And to those people I would not recommend Lescroart's novels. But Lescroart clearly had a series in mind when he began it with "Dead Irish," wanting to establish his characters' motivations and emotional underpinnings. Lescroart writes well to start with, improving with each installment, providing us with a chain of very enjoyable audiobooks. Although each episode can stand alone -- since Lescroart always fills in the details we need to know from previous episodes -- I recommend listening to this series in chronological sequence, in order to fully appreciate the developing story. David Colacci has the perfect voice and acting chops to read these audiobooks, using the same voices for each character throughout the series. I only regret that Mr. Colacci wasn't tapped to read all the Lescroart audiobooks, because the other readers break the consistency Colacci had established. I highly recommend the entire series to all thriller-lovers who have the patience for good character development and intricate plotting.
Although "Void Moon" doesn't contain Harry Bosch -- the hero of most of Connelly's other novels -- it still rocks, showing that Connelly can write anything. In this case he creates a female protagonist, and succeeds in attributing credible behavior and choices to her. I have just finished listening to "Void Moon" for the second time, and I enjoyed it even more than the first time. It employs the risky tactic of revealing the heroine's backstory and motivations a little bit at a time; but Connelly writes so well that the tactic works -- keeping us wondering and paying attention. I recommend "Void Moon" to anyone who loves good, gritty mystery stories.
Even thought "Relic" was published 'way back in 1994, it still delivers plenty of thrills and excitement after all these years. In my opinion, that test of timelessness indicates a good novel. The plot of "Relic" had the potential to flop, since it tells an improbable monster story. But Preston/Child's excellent writing and thorough research facilitate our willing suspension of disbelief, rendering even the most far-fetched plot concepts scientifically plausible. "Relic" grips you right from the beginning, and doesn't let go until the end. The extended sequence in the dark catacombs under New York's Natural History Museum provides unparalleled suspense. "Relic," unlike most thrillers, has no primary hero, but, rather, three or four protagonists. However, it commences a wonderful series of intelligent thrillers featuring the brilliant, erudite, albino F.B.I. agent Aloysius Pendergast, introduced in this novel. David Colacci gives us an excellent reading of this audiobook. I highly recommend "Relic" to any thriller aficionado.