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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hell for the Holidays

I just finished reading Hell for the Holidays, a thriller by Chris Grabenstein, author of Tilt-A-Whirl and other mysteries. Two years ago I recommended Tilt-A-Whirl enthusiastically. Unfortunately I can’t make a similar recommendation for Hell for the Holidays. Although it’s equally fast-paced, it achieves this speed by being lightweight rather than by the use of a distinct narrative voice, which was the best feature of the earlier novel. This one jumps around among several points of view, including that of an FBI investigator painted in broad strokes and those of a number of white supremacist terrorists. The ending, which is telegraphed early on, relies just too much on coincidence to permit a willing suspension of disbelief. Maybe it would have helped if I had read the book to which this is a sequel (Slay Ride). I doubt it, but I’ll give it a try. In the meantime, two thumbs down for Hell for the Holidays.

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