Saturday, June 29, 2013
Review: Manhattan Is My Beat
Manhattan Is My Beat by Jeffery Deaver
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Before buying and reading this book, I only knew the title, the author, and that it had a sequel, Death Of A Blue Movie Star, which I had previously bought but have not yet read. Based primarily on the title, this book was definitely not what I was expecting. With a title like Manhattan Is My Beat, I was expecting a film noir-style detective novel in the spirit of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. As a bit of an aside, I have only been reading novels and stories by Jeffery Deaver for a couple of years now. I started around the time he released his James Bond novel. Expecting a spy master in the vein of Ian Fleming, I instead got an excellent detective novelist. Being only halfway through Fleming's Bond novels, I have bought but not yet read Carte Blanche. However, I have no doubt that Deaver did a great job with Bond. I also have no doubt that he could pull off classic hard-boiled detective novels with ease. This particular novel is just not one.
So far, I have read four of Deaver's novels featuring his most famous character, Lincoln Rhyme, plus two of his short story collections, Twisted and More Twisted. I have enjoyed them all. Getting back to this novel, I do not think this work is on par with the other works of his that I have read. This one was first published in 1988 which seems to make it Deaver's first published novel, so perhaps I am grading it on an unfair curve.
The main character in this work goes by the adopted name of Rune and is basically the complete opposite of Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme. While Rhyme has an impressive intellect, is extremely well-educated, and an acknowledged expert in his chosen field of forensics, Rune is naive and mostly uneducated except for a vast knowledge of cinema. From his wheelchair, Rhyme manages to be in control of situations. He manipulates his opponents as well as his allies, and is therefore able to affect the outcome of the plot. Conversely, Rune is the one being manipulated as she bumbles her way through the story, and the outcome turns out to be completely out of her control.
This novel definitely reads like a Deaver novel. It has sections narrated by unknown antagonists, the plot is driven along at rocket speed, and of course, there are a myriad of plot twists with characters being exposed as not being what they originally seemed to be. In the case of this work however, it all seems vastly overdone. The plot feels like it has too many unexpected turns, and seemingly every character is covering a secret or pretending to be somebody else. The result is more like a rough parody of a Deaver novel than the more polished works that readers have come to expect from this author.
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