Sunday, April 1, 2007

Read: "Booked to Die" by John Dunning

Read: Booked to Die by John Dunning, 1992, 0380718839 (pbk)

Eh. Good plotting and the information on the antiquarian and used book market is interesting but I disliked the main character.

Cliff Janeway is a Detective for the Denver Police Department and a major book nerd. Cliff has been a book collector for several years when he beats the crap out of a suspect and resigns from his job before he is fired to open his own book shop. Janeway's constant wisecracking got on my nerves. Dunning was trying just too hard for the wise-acre, hardboiled type.

Some of the characters, like red herring Jackie Winston and his beat-up girlfriend, were plot devices and poorly drawn. Hell, the damn book was 374 pages and by cutting out those two characters Dunning could have streamlined things and improved the story.

I read a different Dunning book several yearts ago, Bookman's Wake. That novel also featured Janeway and I remember liking it. The mystery plotting was good and the information on the rare book trade was really well done. Wake suffered from a lame romance storyline like Booked to Die has. Dunning's relationship writing about Janeway and would be girlfriend's was odd. I cannot explain it further than that without re-reading and analyzing my thoughts on the book - that effort will not happen.

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