Archive for 'Dunning, John'
This is the fifth Cliff Janeway novel by Dunning, and I think that many of his readers who were hooked by Booked to Die will be disappointed. I was a little. Cliff Janeway is a bookstore owner and Dunning imparts a tremendous amount of information about the world of books, especially collectible books, to the readers in his first few mysteries. They are, in fact, fantastic. But besides setting up the plot, The Bookwomanâ€™s Last Fling has very little to do with books and a lot to do with horses.
Which is not to say that this isnâ€™t a good book. Itâ€™s okay. It just isnâ€™t what I had hoped for. When I read Booked to Die, I was ready to run out to all the local thrift stores to rifle through their books in search of treasures. Dunningâ€™s knowledge of and love for books was heady and you were enlightened and transformed by reading the book. How many books like that have you read recently?
But I understand that authors canâ€™t keep writing the same book over and over. They need to change and grow. So in Bookwoman, Dunning has drawn on some of his experiences from his younger years in the horse world. Janeway is drawn into the world of a long-dead collector of books to value her collection and circuitously ends up investigating her murder.
There are several things that I didnâ€™t like about this book. First, if you are a mystery reader who likes to try to solve the mystery, you will feel gypped â€“ and I will leave it at that. Second, the transition from valuing the collection to working at a track is rough and not very believable â€“ Dunning accomplishes this piece of business but it isnâ€™t at all elegant. And third, the book just doesnâ€™t seem to hang together very well. The characters and setup seem unlikely and never seem to resolve themselves into a story that the reader can be absorbed into without questioning the improbable situations.
Favorite character? It would have to be the book collection, which had the most character and interest for me. Did I guess it? No. Will I read more? Yes, because I know Dunning can do better than this. Hopefully, he will have figured out a way to include his passion for books in his next book â€“ it really is amazing what passion does for a book.
Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at http://reviewedbyliz.com Â©2007