07 July 2008

S is for Silence

I can't remember the last time I read one of Sue Grafton's alphabetical mysteries but I was quite a devotee until around F or G. The novelty was in their smart, tough, frank female protagonist, who was not insusceptible to male attraction, but generally did not let such attraction rule her behavior (in my late teens to early 20s, this was a refreshing attitude to encounter).

Still, after more than a half dozen in a row, I started to get tired of Kinsey Milhone, and moved on to other things. But, finding myself bookless in San Diego a couple weeks ago, I happened on this novel and decided to give her another shot.

Like most respectable mysteries, S is for Silence is hard to put down, but I found myself less than impressed with the writing. Dialogue often seemed stilted, working too hard to convey too much information. I closed the book thinking that, after all, this stuff wasn't very good.

However. Days later I was still thinking about the story, pondering the twists and turns of the plot and the various characters. So while perhaps the writing could be tightened up, you can't really ask too much more of a (fairly lightweight) mystery novel than that its effect lingers significantly after the book's been closed.

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