Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mania by Craig Larson

RATING: 3/5

This book was like a grade-A steak sandwich on moldy bread. I hated the beginning and end, loved the middle. It started off very slowly, which is an odd thing to say for a story that begins with a murder. Larsen's descriptions of scenery seem like filler rather than setting any mood, and slow the pace down. But with the introduction of the character of Sara Garland, the story becomes much more intriguing. The author's frequent use of flashbacks creates a disorientating effect that echoes and allows us to share the protagonist's experience of mental instability.

The "meat" of this story becomes quick-paced, harrowing and suspenseful. Larsen draws out the mystery and intrigue perfectly to keep us turning the pages. But the ending left me cold and angry, feeling even more duped than the protagonist. Perhaps it's my unfamiliarity with the straight mystery genre that led me to expect a few more clues that would help the answer to "whodunit" make more sense. I felt the character motivations, in the end, were exceedingly shallow and unbelievable.

This book, however voraciously I read it, left me with a foul after-taste. Which is unfortunate, since most of it was excellent.

Note: I won this book free through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway, which in no way influenced my rating or review.

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