Book Review: Voodoo River by Robert Crais (1995)

This book features Elvis Cole working for an adopted starlet who’s interested in finding her natural parents in Louisiana. When Cole travels to Louisiana, he discovers that her past is shrouded in mystery, mayhem, and the secrets of a small town.

Enough of the back of the book stuff. Another good Elvis Cole book, but one that again makes me think of the work of Robert B. Parker–the end reminds me a lot of Early Autumn, but with a twist. Of course, these novels make me feel like pre-Spenser:For Hire Spenser novels, when I could wonder what was going to happen before I was caught up in the dialog-driven post-Spenser: For Hire Parker novels, when the dialog just carries you from page 1 to page 300 without allowing the reader to wonder what’s going to happen.

On the other hand, this novel represents the first time Crais deploys the old “first person narrator discloses to other characters, but not to the readers, the plans” trick, which is second in cheap tricks only to the “first person narrator dies at the freaking end” device in absolute author naughtiness. Poor form, Peter, especially when you’re just throwing it in on page 200 to create suspense. Stephen King would thrash you, and rightfully so. That doesn’t count as proper foreshadowing.

Still, I recommend the book, particularly if you can, as I did, get it as a Christmas gift from a beautiful wife who gives up her collection because she knows I won’t read books that are not on my To-Read Shelves unless they’re my books. Otherwise, they’re worth your paperback or second-hand dollar.

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