It is with a heavy heart that I post a not stellar review of this book. This is the third book in a row from my local library book club that I did not really like. I would say I liked this one more than the other two, so there’s that? I was surprised to see a number of my friends give this one fours and fives. For my taste I would give it a three on average. I was optimistic at the beginning, and would have even started it out a five, but by the end, it was brought down by what felt like the author making all the least interesting choices available. And also for making me stretch by disbelief a bit too far.
The premise was great: Joe Talbert, college student, needs to interview someone and write their biography for a class assignment. He is estranged from his alcoholic and abusive mother, and has no other family to speak of, save for his autistic brother Jeremy, so he decides to go to a nursing home and find someone. And boy, does he. Carl Iverson is in the home on prison release because he is on his deathbed. He was imprisoned for the murder and rape of his teenage neighbor thirty years ago, and is now just watching the minutes tick by, as he has most of his adult life. Joe is fascinated by Carl, and in fact becomes quite obsessed, with trying to understand and uncover the truth of what happened all those years ago.
Interesting, right? You want to keep reading! So did I! But, like I mentioned earlier, I just didn’t like where Eskens took the story. I have seen a loooot of fictional crime TV, Law and Order, CSI and the like, and this to me was strangely just too neatly packaged for my liking. I predicted what was going to happen, and then it did. It seemed to be a book I had read before, or Eskens just chose the most predictable avenues. Though I feel like the main characters were well written, I was skeptical of their actions. I won’t get into it too much, but with the stunts Joe pulls the police should have really come down on him, as an ill-prepared near teenager, but they basically just finger wagged and shrugged. I didn’t find any of the officers of the law believable.
I also don’t see how this is “Detective Max Rupert #1” because what we know about him at the end of this book is that he is a Detective, and not a terribly great one. That’s not enough to make me want to pick up #2. I’m interested to see what others thought, so, at minimum, it will provide for interesting debate, which is what a good book club is all about.