Small Town Southern Mystery Draws In Feds. While technically this is Book 4 of the Quinn and Costa series, they and their team don’t actually show up for a decent chunk of the beginning of the book – it seemingly took them longer to come into this narrative than Book 3, The Wrong Victim (which does get referenced here, for those that cannot stand any spoilers whatsoever). But once they do show up, things begin escalating quite quickly and as always we see the various team members doing what they each do best and what makes them such an effective team. As is the norm of “freak of the week” police procedurals, we also get a fair amount of team and personal development of much of the team as well, and in the end the reader is left ready for the next adventure. This is a well told and well paced tale that even at 400 pages, doesn’t quite feel it – it reads more like maybe a 320 pager or so. I’m very much looking forward to Book 5 in this series, and this entry is very much recommended.
Needs More Showing And Less Telling. This is almost “Novel Writing 101” these days, but a classic and oft repeated bit of advice for new writers is that they should *show* the actions of their characters rather than *tell* the readers about it. Here, Grisham – a normally masterful storyteller and legend in the business – somehow manages to miss that, to the detriment of the overall tale here. The tale itself, a multi-generational saga tracing two families through 60 or so years of Coastal Mississippi history, is actually quite good. I was 15% into the tale before I even realized it, and not much had happened at that point. The back quarter to third or so could *really* have been quite legendary in its own right with more showing and less telling, but even in this format it was still a compelling tale. The ending is a bit abrupt and perhaps too open-ended for some readers, but other than the abruptness I thought it actually worked reasonably well. But getting there, across nearly 500 pages that other readers have compared to investigative nonfiction rather than an legal fictional thriller, can in fact be a bit of a slog. Still, other than the “show don’t tell” aspect, there really isn’t anything here to actually say “this is particularly bad” about. Thus, only the single star reduction. Still, this really is a great tale for those who can bear with it, and for that reason it is very much recommended.