I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review.
My Review: So here’s what I liked about this book—the political intrigue. I think that we as Americans enjoy torturing ourselves with the idea that our politicians are totally corrupt and always wheeling and dealing and if people get killed in the process of it all, then that’s pretty much what we expected anyway. Right? And of course I’m a firm believer that there is quite a bit of this dirt going around in our political system for real. But we’re going to avoid that tangent…this book has plenty of that political intrigue. There’s a fair amount of drama and dirty politicians and quick-witted people who are all working to take each other down. So it makes for an interesting, fast-paced story with lots of action and lots of drama. The main characters are believable because there’s no one who is completely virtuous or above it all, and they have this take-no-prisoners attitude when it comes to their dealings with each other. If you’re wronged by someone, then by jove you bettah believe they’re gonna pay big time. The secondary characters were not so well-developed and were a little too intentionally well-placed (as in always completely loyal, always completely able to do what needs to be done regardless of what they think personally, and always having the right skills and access to the right resources to accomplish anything). Sure there are loyal people out there, and people who are willing to do whatever it takes, but in this case, these characters felt a little bit contrived, especially because people on the side of the main character, the, er, “good guy,” basically were able to do everything they needed to and everything worked out, whereas the bad guys basically got their unabashed comeuppance.
Though this book was the third in the series and I hadn't read the previous two, I had no problem knowing what was going on. I think it stood alone on its own just fine. The author did a good job of filling in enough of the back story that I didn't feel lost or even know it was the third in the series until I read more about it.
The weaknesses in Murder in the Park for me were mainly style issues. The book is broken into small chronological sections with place names and dates as the header, which helps you keep track, but then, right when a huge part of the drama is happening, the book just stops and jumps a year ahead, and then alludes to these big events that happened in the interim. I can’t decide whether the author ddidn'twant to deal with those things or just thought they didn't matter. Anyway, it made the book feel really chopped up—almost like two books. The events and tone of the second part of the book are, in fact, quite different from those in the first part of the book, which made it feel disconnected as well. Another style issue was that the writing was almost stream of consciousness in some places—telling what characters thought and felt in an almost summary form, which, although it served its purpose, felt a little clunky.
Overall, I would say the story saved this book. It’s interesting, it’s gritty, and it definitely had some intrigue.
My Rating: 3 Stars
For the sensitive reader: There is some language and sex in this book, but it is consistent with other books in this genre.