After L.A. Requiem my hopes were running high for this follow-up. How could Crais possibly crank it up another notch? But he does. And just as with L.A. Requiem, I cried at the end. Bear in mind that Elvis Cole is one of my favourite fictional characters, and that I’m a romantic at heart. But even so, it’s an amazing novel, with terrific plot, pace, and depth of character. Crime fiction gets no better than this.
Kinsey Millhone gets persuaded to help Lieutenant Dolan and his retired colleague Stacey Oliphant investigate a murder case that has lain unsolved for eighteen years. Grafton weaves a classic detective story: a few tenuous leads develop into a tangled mess of small-town lives, and it takes all of Kinsey’s ingenuity to follow each strand to the end. There are some tantalising glimpses of Kinsey’s family, and some hints about where that story arc is going. As an interesting counterpoint to her relationship with her biological family, Kinsey forms a very strong bond with Dolan and Oliphant here, both of whom are in ill health. The overall result is one of Grafton’s best mysteries to date.
Abi has lunch with Angela here quite often, but it was only the second time I’d eaten there. This time I tried their 8oz beefburger, and it is by far the best burger I’ve ever had in Edinburgh. Beautifully charred on the outside, succulent and roaring with flavour on the inside. It comes on a crusty pain rustique style roll, slathered with a layer of mayonnaise. Mayonnaise? Yes, and it complemented the beef and the bread wonderfully, adding a creamy taste to the rich mix. Add some perfectly cooked frites (most of which Alex stole), and I was in heaven. Gorgeous.
After the relative disappointment of Chosen Prey, Sandford is back on top form here. Clara Rinker was one of Sandford’s most interesting villains, because he chose to make her a sympathetic character. He even allowed Lucas Davenport to like her–a bit. She got away at the end of Certain Prey, but she’s back now, and taking revenge on her former employers. The FBI call in Lucas to help track her down. In classic Davenport style, he schmoozes and networks his way into places the FBI could never go, and breaks their investigation wide open. But can he get to Rinker in time? And in the end, who are you cheering for? Excellent stuff.
Have I mentioned I’m a sucker for superheroes? Even if I wasn’t, I’d still rate Daredevil as a fine action film. Solid performances from the whole cast, with some nifty fight and stunt scenes. Unfortunately all the best character development and action seems to happen in the middle of the film, leaving the end a bit cliché-ridden and hurried. Terrific, escapist fun, though.
Even with it being only 1 hour and 16 minutes long, they couldn’t find enough jokes and plot to fill a whole film, so they just remade the original. Lara Flynn Boyle doesn’t cut it as a villain, Rosario Dawson doesn’t cut it as a love interest, and Smith and Jones show none of the fizz or hidden depths that made the first film so enjoyable. The set pieces are scaled down to the point where they’re just “pieces”, and the supposedly special effects are no more than ordinary. It’s like a particularly bad episode of a poor TV series based on the MIB film. Utterly regrettable–and forgettable–rubbish.