Monday, January 4, 2010

I hate when I can't finish them: Killer Summer by Ridley Pearson

I picked up a new author for me the other day.  Ridley's "Killer Summer".  It is a series that takes place in Sun Valley Idaho and features sheriff Walt Fleming.  I picked this installment up because this story takes place during a wine auction. I love wine.  I love wine tastings and I am very fortunate because once a year I get to participate, (as an employee), in an actual wine auction.  I thought to myself: "Cool, a wine auction.  This should be fun and I might learn something.  Fun and education are a great combination!
I read the back flap and saw that Mr. Pearson already had 13 books under his belt including a bestselling crime series featuring a character called Lou Boldt.  I like thrillers and who-dun-its so I picked it up and put it on my stack. 
When I got home I pulled out this book over the newest Merry Gentry novel by Laurell K. Hamilton, the Lisa Kleypas I found and even over the newest Charlie Bone episode.  Why?  Because I thought to myself I should start the New Year off with a new author and hopefully a new compulsive relationship looking for all the rest of his books.  Anyway, I opened the pages and settled in on the sofa.  It started pleasantly enough with Sheriff Fleming fly fishing with his nephew.  A truck goes by and he notices.  He is an observant guy.  Then an accident with the truck and a car takes place which should be the beginning of a race against time to discover who was trying to steal the very old, very expensive Thomas Jefferson to John Adams wine bottles.
It just fell flat for me. This is a series that cannot be jumped into anywhere. There are relationships and histories that the reader must be aware of from the earlier books in order to grasp the importance of the appearance of a character or the absence of another in this one.  Sun Valley and Ketchum are small communities and everyone knows everyone else but me.  That wasn't my problem though.  My problem was how dry the story was.  I don't likely extremely dry wines and this story is as dry as a cheap burgundy.  Now don't get me wrong.  The writing is tight, the characters well drawn but there is nothing deeper.  I feel like we are going through the motions of a great mystery but it never gets to the meat.  I never felt fear for the grad student who finds out she is being possibly followed.  I didn't feel the terror of guests when a bomb goes off in the auction tent.  I just never felt anything.  I was 150 pages in and thought to myself:  "Self, you have several books you can't wait to get your hands on and you are spending Christmas vacation on something that isn't working for you.  Put it down self and go grab Lisa."  And that is what I did. 
Some books are worth keeping at.  Kent Haruf's "Plainsong and Eventide" immediately come to mind. They were books totally worth the effort and I recommend them highly.  Maybe I will try the Lou Boldt series by Ridley Pearson and see if it was just me or if this author goes on my DNR list.

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