These two detective stories have made me realize I need to do a better job of picking mystery novels. I’ve been completely spoiled by Tana French who manages to make even the most basic characters interesting. One could even argue that her mystery plots aren’t all that complex or interesting and yet, I’m always enthralled.
These two books squandered super interesting premises on garbage characters.
Brilliance is a bookish take on the X-Men premise of humans being born with super abilities. These abilities are a little less supernatural however. One “brilliant”can read secrets in the way people fold their arms. Another can sense patterns in the stock market and play it for all it’s worth. Our protagonist, Nick Cooper, can read body language to read if they’re lying or predict what they’ll do next. It makes him very good at what he does as a federal agent. Unfortunately what he does ends up pitting him against his own kind. When he ends up going undercover as a brilliant among brilliants, he finds himself questioning his entire life.
The Last Policeman takes place as the world is falling apart. An asteroid is due to hit the earth in just a few months, killing most or all life. The impending doom causes major disruption in the basic running of the world as people decide to quit working and live out their dreams. Some people are sticking it out however, including Hank Palace. Palace works as a detective for the Concord Police Department. Many are killing themselves before the impending doom so when he gets called out to a body that looks like a suicide, the department laughs at him calling it a suspicious death. He’s convinced that it could be a murder though so he follows the nonexistent leads.
I really should have DNF’d both books, but both times I found myself too far in to quit. The reason I’ve decided to lump both books together is because they both feature the blandest of bland protagonists. There’s no depth there and if they were women, they’d be called Mary Sues. They make the dumbest decisions on the basis of no logic and then are time and time again rewarded for it. Their guts are the strongest and truest of guts.
I hope I’ve learned my lesson and can stay away from blandy mcblanderson mysteries in 2017. Official new year’s resolution!