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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Eye of the Beholder

I recently listened to the audiobook of Eye of the Beholder, by David Ellis. This work is a hybrid of two genres: the thriller and the police procedural. It’s definitely a page-turner — well, I can’t use that metaphor for the audiobook version, so let’s just say that it kept holding my attention and made me want to continue. But I’m not convinced that the hybrid genre has led to hybrid vigor. Perhaps that’s because of a continually jarring switch back-and-forth between a first-person POV and a third-person POV. The writing is clearly inspired by John Grisham and Jeffery Deaver, with an admixture of Ed McBain, but there are a lot of original aspects as well. In particular, the good guys aren’t completely good and some of the bad guys aren’t completely bad (except for one). In Deaver style, there are several plot twists whereby people aren’t who they seem to be. The major downside is that several scenes are extremely violent, enough so to turn off some readers completely. For those who can stand the violence, I recommend this study of lawyers, cops, criminals, and academe — quite a combination!

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