Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

The cliché “familiarity breeds contempt” has been thrown around for years indicating that with the passage and repetition of time, sooner or later even things that you like will take on an air of being tired, shop worn, threadbare and deserving of scorn. Writers who dabble in the ongoing series run the risk of storylines becoming a bit too familiar or even reaching the point of being so redundant that you swear you’ve read this story before.

The Golem of Paris – Jonathan Kellerman & Jesse Kellerman – (Putnam)

I have to admit, I tried to read and like the first outing in what apparently will be a series of books from the father and son pairing of Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman, The Golem of Hollywood, but it left me a bit flat and more than a little confused. After reading the new installment, The Golem of Paris I find myself pondering dusting off the first to have another go.

This became a more intriguing prospect due to the fact that this is truly a genre busting read. There is a crackling level of suspense that is injected into the storyline and LAPD special Projects Detective, Jacob Lev is every bit as dark and possessed of a whole bag full of issues all his own that you can’t help but be drawn into character.

Don’t feel that you have to start at the beginning, because The Golem of Paris truly does stand on its own and will be a solid change of pace from the very familiar characters of the gentlemen Kellerman.

Depraved Heart – A Scarpetta Novel – Patricia Cornwell (William Morrow)

Depraved Heart is the 23rd installment in Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series. While 23 books based on a long running character is certainly an almost unparalleled achievement, only Sue Grafton’s alphabet series comes to mind, this series has started to take on lived in, been there done that feel.

While Scarpetta’s medical examiner solving crimes evolved into some amazing and classic psychological thrillers, recently for me they have become a little too similar, a little too familiar and bordering on redundant.

For a book billed with the line “In the most terrifying 24 hours of her life” the storyline here moves at a ploddingly slow pace. With that billing you’d expect things to move with a little more velocity.

It certainly raises the question, at what point do you put even a successful character to rest and move on in a new direction? Or will diehard fans continue to gravitate towards the tried and true.

One Killer Force – Dalton Fury (St. Martin’s Press)

While from a distinctly different genre than the other two, One Killer Force by former Delta Force commander Dalton Fury, a guy with all the been there done that credibility of a warrior who was among the ranking officers at the battle of Tora Bora; there is one thing that drives me nuts about Fury’s ongoing series featuring Kolt Raynor, the ongoing, inter-service rivalry gags and comments.

Alright already, we get it. The Delta gang thinks the SEA/Ls are a bunch of wet behind the ears swimmers. The snide remarks and “inside” jokes really don’t add anything to the storyline, especially when the plot includes the Joint Chiefs pondering the unthinkable and combining the special forces into one…you guessed it…Killer Force.

It’s easy to see why Raynor earned the nickname “Racer” as the story moves a break neck pace. One Killer Force is the perfect mix of authentic feel action, brazen fly by the seat of your pants and worry about picking up the pieces later, that might drive traditional military discipline types over the edge. But hey, that’s what this great fiction is all about!




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