I'm a pretty hard boiled crime fiction devotee, but I stopped listening to this only a bit into chapter two. I enjoy dark crime fiction. The characters held promise of good, deep development, but the details of a psychopathic sexual sadist's delight in his medieval torture chamber repelled me.
I read The Suspect first, and chose this too hastily, hoping for another O'Loughlin book. It is taking place some time after Suspect, with Ruis from The Suspect, now retired and friendly ex-colleagues with Alicia, the feisty protagonist.
Once into it, I came to enjoy Robotham's writing again. The story tells a grim truth about human trafficking, baby selling, and attendant ugly human realities, and a woman sikh D.C.'s effort to wind her way through the knots of a complex set of agendas.
The protagonist is both good and annoying (to me) as Robotham portrays her. She's bright, incisive, aggressive and well trained as a DC. But he wrote her into many scenes requiring too much willing suspension of disbelief for me. He has her behaving like a naively brazen provocateur of bad guys who'd likely kill her instantly. She too often assumes she will be believed and taken seriously by males in the police world, thinking they'll do the right thing, when in fact, the usual self-interest reigns supreme. This naiveté didn't work for me, but there was enough of a good story to keep me engaged.
The narrator was good in Alicia's voice, but not very skilled with male voices.
I'll keep reading Robotham, hoping for more stories with the psychologist.
I'm writing mid-way through listening, out of need to express my frustration. On one hand, I've read Mina's other books (not listened) and appreciated them a lot. She writes beautiful prose and is magical depicting archeology of damaged characters. The reader performs well with a lovely, exacting Scots brogue, which while authentic, leads me to rewind fairly often to be sure I caught what was said.
On the other hand, it's hard to keep track of past and present, who did what to whom, when and why, and what has evolved in the characters' lives from then to now. Some chapters start with the the 1997 date, others with no date, and we're left to assume they're happening 'now', but if you've forgotten a character from earlier chapters, it's easy to feel lost. It's back and forth, back and forth.
Thus far, I'm thinking I'd more enjoy this book as read than listened to, so I could thumb back to previous sections to remind myself of events and people. As it is, I'm disappointed and exasperated, tempted to quit reading but not wanting to. Sigh. Maybe it's just senior brain.
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