I was glued to this book for all 27 hours -- and the funny thing is, having read the book at least three times since it came out in 1973, I knew exactly what was going to happen. Clearly, it wasn't the element of suspense that got me -- even though there was still plenty of that. In a book this long, lots of things happen that I'd forgotten, or glossed over, before. Then too, listening to a book as compared to reading it, there are always things that seem new, that I hadn't considered before. But the big delight in listening, again, was just watching it all unfold -- seeing Edward X. Delaney plot, plan and scheme to take down the evil Daniel Blank for whom, ultimately, it's hard not to feel some level of compassion. The staid but quirky Delaney is on a par with the world's most memorable detectives -- Holmes, Piorot, Whimsey, and even Columbo, of whom he reminds me in some vague fashion (probably his absolute doggedness, in refusing to ever consider giving up or even backing down.) Bottom line, I loved this book -- absolutely loved it. Now I'm looking forward to all the rest of the "sins", wishing, for the first time in my life, that there were more than seven.
Perfect, just perfect. Horrific beginning, as LAPD cop Michael Gideon and his police dog, Sirius, are trapped in a burning forest in pursuit of a killer. The killer shoots at them, hits Sirius, but Gideon forces the killer to help him carry the wounded dog out through a wall of flame. They all survive, the killer is sentenced, and becomes an eerie presence in the book. Both Sirius and Gideon are badly burned, but both go on to become the protagonists of what will -- I hope - become a new police procedural series for Alan Russell.
Burning Man is one of those "just five minutes more" books you can't find a place to stop listening. The cases Gideon and his "partner" Sirius get are fascinating -- a newborn baby abandoned on church steps, a teen-aged bully crucified on a tree in the park. There's a romantic interest, but just enough to make Gideon a real person. I like how Sirius is included in everything -- he's not a "sleuth", like some of the cat books, but not since Carol Lea Benjamin created PI Rachel Alexander and her pit bull companion 'Dash' has a dog played such a significant -- dare I say 'meaty'? Sirius is addicted to In 'N Out Burgers -- role in a book, and done it so well. Nothing cutesy here, just a really smart police dog with a brave and interesting human.
The narration is excellent -- thank Gd for a narrator who can pronounce California place names correctly! Couldn't be better.
Can't praise this book enough -- more, more!!
I'm not a big fan of serial killer stories -- they tend to get boring and repetitious, not to mention unpleasantly over the top in terms of pain and gore. But in reading the blurb that described this book by Linda Castillo, something grabbed my attention -- not too sure what. In any event, I'm glad I bought it. It's different -- and very very good.
There's some blood and guts, to be sure, but not much. Most of the story focuses on the Police Chief protagonist, Kate Burkholder. (Ever notice how many female cops, etc, are named 'Kate'?) And she is an interesting bird -- grew up Amish, speaking Pennsylvania Dutch, at age 18 she elected not to join the church, and set out to become a police officer instead. Now she's been hired back in her home community, where she's trying to serve as a bridge between the Amish and the "English", ie, everyone else. Tough job -- would be a tough job for everyone, but needless to say, having a female chief of police would be a big enough issue in the first place, let alone one thought to harbor the pacifist ideals of the Amish community. In addition to everything else, Kate has a hostile board to deal with, people who seem set on making her life as miserable as possible. (Been there, done that myself -- maybe that's why I identified with this protagonist.)
Linda Castillo did an excellent job with this story -- really remarkable. There were times when Kate's anguish over things that were happening were so intensely described I actually shed a tear or two for her -- now when's the last time THAT happened? The whole thing is really well done -- and the narration by Kathleen McInerney is perfect for this book. Not overdone, not underdone, just right.
I've since bought two more books in this series, haven't listened to them yet, but if they're only partly as good as this one, they're more than worth it. Good book!