Sunday, September 12, 2010

Turning Angel

This book by Greg Iles was part of my self-imposed A-Z challenge, which is the sole reason I completed it. It wasn't hard work to read, but it was very flawed, I felt.

Firstly the deaths just kept getting piled on, like Iles came to the end of a chapter and thought how can I pad this out a bit more? Let's kill some more off!

The protagonist, Penn Cage, wasn't very likeable - he was supposed to be, I think, but he seemed such a hypocrite I couldn't believe in his moral compass. The reader was supposed to believe his motives were pure (for wanting to become mayor to save the town) while we're told the ambitions of Shad are all about money and power. There was a lot of telling not showing in this book, which is always a no-no for me.

There were some difficult racial undercurrents to the story which made me feel uncomfortable: it seemed quite negative about black people despite 'our hero' supposedly being an ex-civil rights lawyer.


The theme of "young people not being like we were in the good old days" ran throughout while young women being "evolutionary nirvana" etc left a bad taste. The (platonic) relationship between teenaged babysitter Mia and the 40-odd Penn was paralleled with the highly sexualised relationship between his lifelong friend Drew and Kate. Although lip-service was paid to the ickiness and illicit nature of the latter alliance (Kate being Drew's patient as well as babysitter), there was a lot of justification and empathising going on. As a murder victim, she was slut-shamed endlessly & mercilessly.

The scorned wife who attacks Kate and thinks she killed her - well, her noble (cheating, lying) husband, Drew, is willing to protect her by going to jail in her stead - but we have to remember, it was all her fault from the start for being a drug-addict. Not his for going over the side with a patient and also sending that patient into danger by having her buy drugs for his wife to protect his career.

Also, you think the wife's actually innocent as the real killer is established but - it turns out the injury she did cause the victim would have killed her (if someone else hadn't come along and raped & killed her for sure afterwards) so there! So she's still a murdering biatch.

While the middle class white men were just doing man-things that they could only be expected to do, while the real guilty parties seemed to be women/people of colour/immigrants.

It was all a bit Daily M@!l, if you ask me. Which is not how I like my novels.

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