I had my first taste of Dennis Lehane last year when I read his first novel, ‘A Drink Before The War’. I was impressed. Then I found out he wrote ‘Mystic River’ and ‘Shutter Island’ and I knew I had to read some more. I thought I’d read his latest book for the Genre Mystery square for my Halloween Bingo reading game.
This was me two days ago when I started ‘Since We Fell’
The Prologue was even better than I expected. It opened with these killer sentences:
‘On a Tuesday in May, in her thirty-fifth year, Rachel shot her husband dead. He stumbled backward with an odd look of confirmation on his face, as if some part of him had always known she’d do it.’
I clapped myself on the back for choosing a good book and moved on to Chapter One…
…turned out not to be about a murder investigation but about Rachel’s childhood with her mother and it read like something by Elizabeth Strout.
Still, I like Elizabeth Strout and the writing was good, so I continued
This was me this morning:
‘Sadly, wearily, he flicks the headphones to off, sets down his phone, looks up, wipes his brow and with grim resignation says:
“OK. I’m calling it. Time of Death of interest is 10.52 September 7th.”
I set ‘Since We Fell’ aside after 23% (2.5 hours).
The publisher’s summary described ‘Since We Fell’ as:
‘Bringing together Dennis Lehane’s trademark insightful and empathetic characterisation, razor-sharp dialogue, stunning atmosphere and breakneck twists and turns, Since We Fell is a true masterpiece that will keep you in suspense until the very end. ‘
I wasn’t seeing any of that. I was bored. I didn’t care about the main character. OK, her mother was a nasty secret-keeping power-hungry emotionally-distant nightmare who wouldn’t tell Rachel who her father was. It’s more than two decades later and Rachel, who has the perfect career and the perfect husband and has never had to struggle for anything in her privileged white middle-class life, feels her life is empty because she’s an orphan. And I should care why?
Nothing interesting had happened since Rachel shot her husband in the first paragraph. I felt like I was watching a set being assembled while waiting for the play to start. The prose was good but there was no suspense, no mystery and no engagement in the main character’s plight.
I decided l was done.
Maybe I’ll come back to this when I’m looking for a slow burn read but for now, life’s to short to read a book that’s boring me.
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