According to Goodreads, there are 29 Gregor Demarkian novels. I’ve read at least 26. I know some Cannonballers have become slightly disillusioned with the Stephanie Plum series, and narfna posted recently about not loving the latest Flavia de Luce as much. I have a similar feeling of Demarkian fatigue. The mystery in this one was interesting, but I think I’m a little tired of Haddam’s writing style.
Mark DeAvecca is a student at a posh, hipster high school for rich kids. Before transfering to Windsor Academy, he was a bright, accomplished, A+ student. Since Christmas break, however, he’s been forgetful and disheveled, turning homework in late, and missing classes. His teachers and classmates are convinced he’s on drugs. When his roommate is found hanging in their shared dorm room, Gregor Demarkian, retired FBI agent and sometime police consultant, takes a look at the case. The dead roommate sold drugs and was having an affair with (or, you know, getting abused by…16!) the headmaster’s wife. A murder and an attempted murder thicken the plot. Everybody on campus is acting suspiciously. Mark’s famous parents show up, and the media circus begins.
All of that had potential, but this time, the writing just bogged it down for me. Haddam likes to do character/point-of-view chapters, but all of them sound exactly the same. Every character: the headmaster’s wife, the headmaster, the closeted gay teacher, the out lesbian teacher, the new teacher struggling to keep her head above water, 16-year-old Mark…they all talk like Gregor. There’s no change in tone or vocabulary, and after a while it gets ridiculous. Teenagers just don’t talk like that, I don’t care how fancy their school is. Also, Gregor’s having a personal crisis with his girlfriend, and I just wanted to smack him for most of the book.
I predict that I will swear off Demarkian novels for a while, and then pick another one up next time I’m at the library without my TBR list, when I can’t remember anything except the familiar. And then I’ll be disappointed.