#1 New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth George offers the latest in her Inspector Lynley series: a gripping child-in-danger story featuring fan favorite Barbara Havers.
Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers is at a loss: The daughter of her friend Taymullah Azhar has been taken by her mother, and Barbara can't really help - Azhar had never married Angelina, and his name isn't on Hadiyyah's, their daughter's, birth certificate. He has no legal claim. Azhar and Barbara hire a private detective, but the trail goes cold.
Azhar is just beginning to accept his soul-crushing loss when Angelina reappears with shocking news: Hadiyyah is missing, kidnapped from an Italian marketplace. The Italian police are investigating, and the Yard won't get involved, until Barbara takes matters into her own hands. As she attempts to navigate the complicated waters of doing anything for the case against her superior's orders, her partner, Inspector Thomas Lynley, is dispatched to Italy as the liaison between the Italian police and Hadiyyah's distraught parents.
In time, both Barbara and Lynley discover that the case is far more complex than just a kidnapping, revealing secrets about Angelina; her new lover, Lorenzo; and even Azhar - secrets Barbara may not be willing to accept. With both her job and the life of a little girl on the line, Barbara must decide what matters most and how far she's willing to go to protect it.
©2013 Elizabeth George (P)2013 Penguin Audio
I used to put the Lynley novels at the top of my wish list, and couldn't wait to grab the latest book as soon as it was out. Not any more! The book prior to "Just One Evil Act" - "Believing the Lie" - was such a disappointment that I returned it and got my credit back (Thank you Audible!) as soon as I was done. "Believing the Lie" was full of "unbelievable" subplots and distractions, Lynley's behavior was totally out of character, and Barbara Havers was barely in the story at all. I thought "Believing the Lie" would be my last Lynley, but when I saw that "Just One Evil Act" featured Barbara Havers and sounded much more like the familiar solid plots of the earlier books in the series - I took a chance, hoping to be rewarded with the excellent story-telling that Elizabeth George is capable of. Nope. Anyone who knows the series knows that Lynley's wife was killed off in a senseless murder several books ago. Now it seems that George is equally determined to kill off (figuratively speaking) the rest of her main characters by having them behave in ways that completely contradict their personalities that developed as the series progressed. Barbara Havers had never been portrayed as stupid, yet in this book she does one unbelievably stupid thing after another. Emotional attachment is a fine motive for poor decisions, but Havers' behavior in this book makes her seem like a complete idiot. Lynley has been a deeply troubled soul, but also not stupid. His brains, like Havers, have gone by the wayside in the past two books and he, too, behaves like a cardboard caricature of his former self. Add to this the fact that "Just One Evil Act" is about twice as long as it needs to be, and George arrogantly inserts entire conversations in Italian that are not translated for the reader who expects the book to be in English - and I was left with the distinct impression that the author no longer cares what her readers think. I'm sure her books will continue to sell based on hype and past reputation, but for anyone who read the series when it was truly good, this descent into mediocrity is painful. I can easily overlook a book or two in a series that aren't quite as good as some - anyone can have a slump - but the last few books in this series have been a downward plummet as opposed to a temporary slump. If this had been the first book in the series I read - I would never have read another one. If you read the reviews on Amazon you'll see lots of 1 and 2 star reviews from former fans of the series - I wish I'd read them before I wasted my time on this lengthy slog. I'm done with this series. There are so many better books out there.
The book was not up to par with the other books in this series. I struggled to finish it and I usually look forward to George's books.
The whole storyline was tedious. The characters were uninteresting and the regular characters were doing things "out of character" and made the story a bit far fetched to this reader. The move to Italy and the kidnapping was an uninteresting plot for a Lindley book. Also, the book opened with Inspector Lindley at a roller derby ring; and, he was there because he's a a crush or love interest in one the roller derby skaters. Did I forget to mention that he's an Earl. Oh my, all the things that made him interesting when he was wooing his deceased wife Deborah made this a very disappointing read. I'm not very interested in the direction the characters are taking.
The reading was fine; the book was uninteresting.
I will not buy the next book. Very sad, because I really did enjoy this series.
Less Italian language, much less of Havers flaunting any reasonable police procedure without seeming consequences
I have enjoyed E. George's books for years. This book and the one with Freudinger's cat were both far beyond a good mystery read - more like a college class for which I had not taken the introductory course.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
I have followed Elizabeth George's Linley/Havers series since the very first book, and I have been a fan.
"Just One Evil Act" will be my last adventure with these two detectives.
I will try in this review to avoid any spoilers for those who will still want to try this book (as I did). In this listening experience I was left with several mysteries of my own. How many of us who have been acquainted with Barbara Havers all these years can believe that her reaction to being used and betrayed by a good friend would lead her to protect that friend? Our prickly, hotheaded, emotionally self-protective, untrusting Barbara?
Who could accept that the demanding new head "Gov" at Scotland Yard would overlook again and again dereliction of duty, lying, and actual law breaking? And, alas, who would have thought that this fan could actually find herself fed up with the actions and stupidity of a favorite character?
"Just One Evil Act" is simply too, too long. And I didn't believe it.
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
I've been feeling increasingly disappointed by Elizabeth George's books. It seems as though there was no such thing as a bad Lynley novel "back in the day." But lately, I find myself wondering if someone else is ghost-writing them for her. It feels like whatever held them together in the beginning--some of the chemistry between the characters, and the coherence of the plots--has slipped a little.
That being said--in fairness felt I should be honest--they are still Lynley and Havers--and I've grown to love them so much over the years that even with a little fading of the original charm, they are still good reads (listens). In this one, we get more of a look at Barbara Havers--unmarried and childless, but who has grown very fond of her little neighbor over the course of several books. She learns with genuine anguish first that the child has been kidnapped by her mother, then that she has simply been kidnapped for real. That's a good plot line--and had many possibilities. But gosh, is the book ever long! Was there an editor on the job here? And then, while I enjoy books that have occasional foreign language comments inserted here & there--in this one (for completely baffling reasons) the author has characters speak whole conversations in Italian (with no translation provided). Someone who speaks the language might have really liked that--I don't, and I didn't.
Davina Porter is a wonderful narrator--yet she lacked something in reading this. I imagined that even she didn't know what to do with the book. And, just to be clear--I am saying some things that another reader might want to know about before deciding on purchasing this book. But I still enjoyed it--as it is a (weaker) but still excellent read, due to the fact that the whole series, with the development of characters up till now, carries this book in ways that a stand-alone novel could not have done on it's own.
I hope that Eliz George will be reading the comments of her long & faithful fans, and maybe do some better editing of the next Lynley novel--which even though this one was not quite up to par--I still anticipate with pleasure.
An avid reader, demanding of the story, characters and narrator. Mysteries and historical fiction are my favorites.
I have been a fan of Elizabeth George and her main characters, Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers, for many, many years. But I fear that EG is running out of steam. This book was too long (I can't believe I said that); the ending was facile; and I found the choices some characters made difficult to believe (out of character). I actually found myself drifting off periodically because the story simply didn't hold my interest.
The narrator was excellent.
I don't think she wrote about Haver's brushing her teeth or using the toilet, but every other act was well-documented. And just as you think you are done, it goes on... and on... and on...
And all the characters are extremely stupido.
No, I think I am done
huh? Probably most of them
Long and boring, with very stupid characters.
Elizabeth George is one of my favorite writers. Though very good, this was not my favorite of her books. It was as literary and engaging as all of her others. It's just that the main protagonist (if I can call her that) was Barbara Havers rather than Inspector Lynley.
Barbara is a compelling character when alongside Lynley but in this novel she was on her own. As per the author's design, she made me uncomfortable. In all of us, our strengths can also be our weaknesses. However, Barbara seemed to yield a little too much on the side of situational morality. I can't say more without giving something away.
The story has a wonderful arc. Donata Peters narrates it brilliantly until she has to speak in Italian. Ms. George introduces some fascinating new characters whom I hope will appear in future books.
Just One Evil Act is worth your credit and your time.
This is my dog Zoe. Zoe and I cannot bear it when narrators pronounce words incorrectly.
I started listening to this series because of Lynley. Over time, I have found Barbara Havers to be even more interesting. This time, I'll leave a review of the book to others. My comments here concern the narration. Normally, I like Davina Porter. This time, I want to strangle her and I'm not even halfway through the story. A large part of the story takes place in Tuscany, which I was looking forward to. Before we even board the plane, however, Ms. Porter is tossing out mangled Italian words with abandon. The main problem is a misplaced accent, which takes me right out of the story. The latest cringeworthy words are "macchina" (car) and "aspettami" (wait for me). The former word is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable and not the second, which is where Ms. Porter places it; the latter word is pronounced with the stress on the second syllable and not the third. She stresses the wrong syllable in "Jacopo" (Porto San Jacopo). Aha! Someone must have corrected her, because she just pronounced it correctly. This problem of mispronounced words is not restricted to Italian. I have heard it with French, most recently, when a reader pronounced the "grâce" in "coup de grâce" as if it were written "grah." Even native English speakers routinely mispronounce some words; for example, I have never heard a narrator pronounce "primer" correctly. I refer to the primer that is a reader (textbook), which is pronounced as if it were spelled "primmer." Narrators would do themselves, and their listeners, a favor if they checked out Forvo.com before reading books that contain words in a language other than English or, for that matter, books that contain unfamiliar English words.
Anglophile. Prefer only British fiction and mysteries. Good translations of Italian, too.
Many things made this book captivating. I liked the focus on Barbara Havers. I loved that most of the "action" took place in Lucca, Italy. I liked that Lynley had a new love interest. There was just so much about this book that I adored. I liked the new character, Salvatore.
When Barbara Havers is up all night trying to figure out what to do next. I won't reveal more as no reader wants to know in advance too many details!
Davinia Porter is one of my favorite readers. As I am legally blind and have no option but to listen to books, the reader is key. Ms. Porter is excellent.
When Barbara sees Lucca from the rooftop terrace. Also, the various emotional encounters.
A brilliant read. I especially enjoyed that the book was not hurried and that it was long. I liked this very much. As always with Ms. George, the characterizations were marvelous. She is such a grand and enjoyable author.
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