Friday, November 27, 2009

Julie's Review: The Maze

Summary: Full of karate, pistol-whipping, and other malevolent mayhem, Catherine Coulter's The Maze could be described as a junior-varsity version of Silence of the Lambs. As in that novel, the heroine in The Maze, Lacey Sherlock, becomes an FBI agent to help unravel the mysteries of her own past. Seven years after her sister was brutally slain by a serial killer (the wonderfully creepy "String Killer"), Lacey is assigned to the FBI's Criminal Apprehension Unit (CAU). The CAU, headed by brawny bureau egghead Dillon Savich, uses computer modeling to catch the baddest guys around--it's like profiling, but with databases. Before you know it, Dillon and Lacey are tangling with the String Killer. Even when the scenarios are not terribly inventive--"Let's use Lacey as bait! What a great idea!"--Coulter makes sure that her bad guys are good and twisted. A touch of bloody-mindedness can cover up a multitude of sins, and on that score, The Maze satisfies.

Review: Maybe starting a series 11 years after it's been published isn't such a good thing but since I've heard a lot about this series from both my dad and Jenn, I gave it a whirl. My verdict, interesting case that did keep me going back and forth about 'who dunnit' but the dialogue that I suppose was sharp and witty 11 years ago fell flat. I knew going in that Savich and Sherlock were a couple so I knew I'd be coming at it from a different view point. I mean it was pretty evident from the get go they'd hook up but them getting there is part of the ride. I do think they make an interesting team and am interested to see where this series goes.

As far as the crime in the book goes, it gave me chills. It kept me wondering who really killed Sherlock's sister Belinda. I just had a hard time believing that Savich would let her in on a case with such a personal involvement. Then again, this is fiction.

Ms. Coulter seemed to know enough about the FBI and inter workings to make it believable. I've always been intrigued about the training of an FBI agent. The beginning of the book somewhat satisfies that curiosity.

There's quite a cast of characters from Lacey's (aka Sherlock's) family to Quinlan and Sally. I'm actually anxious to meet Savich's family. The writing in the books leaves something to be desired. It seems stiff and contrite to me at times. I will say that Catherine Coulter certainly knows how to build of the sexual tension between her characters. I believe all her books are this way, because I've read a couple of her non FBI books. Is this the best book series I've read, um no, is it entertaining: yes. Will I continue to read the books? Yes. They aren't horrible but they aren't Michael Connelly, Harlan Coben or David Baldacci, whom I think are the premiere writers of the crime/thriller/mystery genre. Plus between my dad and Jenn I have all the books. I'm also kind of hoping they getting better as they go on unlike Stephanie Plum which has sharply declined.

Final Take: 3/5


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