Sometimes, you go to a library book sale and grab something for $1 that turns out the be awesome, like The Mexican Mafia by Tony Rafael that I found at last year’s sale, or the big pile of Isabel Allende books I hauled home. Other times, you spend $1 on a book like The Excursion Train, which despite its semi-decent Goodreads reviews was one of the dullest, most poorly written books I have read all year.
Set in England in the 1800s, The Excursion Train is about a murder on a (duh) train that’s headed to an illegal boxing match. The murder victim was an executioner, so there are quite a few suspects. The murderer used a garrote, because the hangman hangs people! The detective, a wanna-be Sherlock Holmes named Colbeck, investigates the murder, then someone else dies, and blah blah blah. I got kind of drunk to make it through the last 100 pages, so I’m a bit fuzzy on the details. But who cares, because you won’t read it anyway (seriously, don’t).
It was just dull. And the writing was bad. The story probably could have been saved by a better author, but after the third time that someone told the detective something along the lines of “wow, you’re just so much smarter and observant than us, gee shucks!” (I’m paraphrasing), I really had to pour another glass of wine. I like Victorian England. I like homages to Sherlock Holmes. But this was a disgrace to the genre, and a waste of my dollar.