©2001 Clare Francis; (P)2002 BBC Audiobooks Limited
"Using dramatic pauses, a fast pace, and a husky voice, Jennings creates a riveting listening experience." (AudioFile)
The plot of "A Death Divided" is well-constructed, and all the loose ends tie up neatly at the finish.
Unfortunately, the book moves glacially. If I'd been reading it, by the beginning of chapter 4, I'd've turned to the end to discover the resolution and then put the book in the garage sale pile.
in the attempt to make the characters well-rounded, the author succeeds only in making them more indecisive than Hamlet. Not a one of them did I like, or even care about. Not a spark of life flickers among the lot: they are uniformly depressed and fraught with anguish. Pitiable, I suppose, is the word, but pity quickly gives way to impatience and scorn towards people who are deliberately helpless.
The main character [and necessarily the detective] wrings his hands and dithers at every single decision point and at all points in between, which made me want to slap him. And the man is a professional litigator--I can't imagine any litigator being so unwilling to ask questions as he, so unable to confront people from whom he needs information, and so uncertain that he backs away from confrontation at the first sign of unpleasantness.
In addition to these serious problems, the author simply doesn't have a feel for writing dialogue. It's wooden and often repetitive. The text is gorged with description and the minute actions of the characters, which is no substitute for the dialogue which should have added sparkle and sense to the text. The book lacked good timing and a feeling of inevitable forward motion, both of which are necessary for a mystery or suspense novel.
The author writes well, except for the dialogue. What she needs is an honest editor who will be ruthless in his assessment of her manuscripts and who will point out where she goes wrong. I hope she finds one. This book had a fine plot. It's just everything else that palled.
I love books!
I've read most of Clare Francis' books and enjoyed them all. This was a good listen and I was sorry to have it end.
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