Reading dates: 20 August – 09 September 2023
After spending two years reading Reacher, the first book away from that relationship was going to be a hard act to follow so I am writing this with the mind that I might be too harsh, as I miss Reacher (I had a dream last night in which he was my boyfriend!)
John Colapinto’s books was gifted to me by my dear friend and colleague Laura Bissell, who knows me very well. This is totally a book for me: literary crime fiction that is meta-referential. So why the 3 stars? I have one reason for each star I docked.
The first is around the lie that sustains the crime, which involves theft, blackmail and attempted murder. I realised, reading this book, while I might not object reading about any of the crimes, I find reading about lying blood curdling. I shouted at the book ‘TELL HER THE TRUTH AND YOU WILL BE OUT OF THIS!’ Still, when I think about it, I think the character is utterly stupid for not coming clean and it makes me rage. It was a surprise to be so affected by this and I am very glad I learned about this side of myself.
The second is less personal and, perhaps, more fair. I think the book is too much in awe of its literary influences: Despair, Pale Fire and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and the Ripliad by Patricia Hightsmith. Sadly for Colapinto, these are also some of my favourite books … They stopped him from being truly what it could be and a lot of it read like ventriloquism or puppeteering. Cal Cunningham is not Kinbote, Ripley, Herman Herman or Humbert Humbert. He is clumsy at best although there is once scene, of a boat trip, that gets close to his heroes. Still, no Reacher wisdom.
Yet, the book had a lot of things going for it and I would recommend it – I would just not re-read it: it is a solid and interestingly plotted story, well written. Incidentally, I learned a lot of new and very interesting words through it: crepitation, afflatus, ectomorphs, purlieu, callipygian (love this one), tintinnabulation, kibitzing.